Latvia, the hosting country of the 2008 U20 European Championship Men, started off with no mercy in a 95-67 win over Bulgaria to finish the first day of the games in Group C.
Dairis Bertans led the way with 24 points, five rebounds , five assists and three steals, followed by Rihards Kuksiks with 14 and Janis Streinieks with 13.
Chavdar Kostov was the only one who showed up in Bulgaria with 21 points.
"It was a team effort," said Bertans after the win. "We wanted very much to win the first game, and knew Bulgaria will be tired. We took advantage of that, played long possessions and pressured them on defense. We have a whole team that can play well."
The hosts gave Bulgaria just ten minutes of mercy before taking over the game with the help of the locals fans who kept pushing them for 40 minutes.
After a close first quarter, which Latvia finished with a 24-23 lead, clouds covered the Bulgarian view.
The local stars - Bertans and Kuksiks - led the run that left very little room for doubts. Latvia stormed the court and with big pressure on the ball allowed Bulgaria only two points in the first seven minutes of the quarter.
That was more than enough to open a double-digit lead and enter the half time break with a 49-31 lead.
Bertans's hot hand didn't stop working and nine additional points in the third quarter were part of Latvia's second run which turned this game to a walk in the park.
With ten minutes to play in the game the local team held a 27 point difference, 75-48 and easily cruised for their first win in the championship, capped with a
Latvia will face Spain on the second day while Bulgaria seek for a debut win against Montenegro.