|Ojars Silins and Latvia started their campaign in style with a convincing win over Israel|
Latvia overcame a poor start to claim an ultimately comfortable 87-59 win over Israel in the opening game for both teams in First Round Group C at the Sportland U20 European Championship in Tallinn, Estonia.
Israel started explosively and took a 15-6 lead within the first five minutes of the opening quarter, but then went though a dry spell so long that it ended only after the start of the second frame.
By that time, Latvia had suddenly switched on and used a 14-0 run to turn the tables around and assume full control of the encounter.
Latvia started off the third quarter on a 12-2 run that gave them their biggest lead in the game until that point, 53-38, with six minutes remaining in the period.
Israel's Alon Abramovich sunk a triple on the fast break to reduce the gap to 10, 53-43, but Latvia had more resources and rallied again to make it 64-45, juts before the end of the quarter.
From then on, the Baltic side simply switched to cruise control before stepping on the gas one more time midway through the final frame and go on an 11-0 run that gave them a 29-point lead, their biggest of the night.
Latvia point guard Ingus Jakovics led all scorers with 26 points, fellow guard Kaspars Vecvagars contributed 17 points and five rebounds and Janis Berzins finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
Tom Maayan was the only player to score in double digits for Israel and finished with 14 points and five assists.