Italy Overcome Injury, Stun Poland


Despite missing their top scorer Italy pulled off the biggest shocker of the U18 European Championship Men by knocking off hosts Poland 70-52 to reach the semi-finals.

Matteo Imbro collected 17 points, five rebounds and five assists while Diego Maldini scored 16 points and Matteo Chillo hit for 14 points as Italy return to the last four at the U18 level for the first time since winning bronze in 2005.

Italy forced 23 Poland turnovers and held them to 2-18 from three-point range while committing only 11 turnovers in the game.

Poland were led by 14 points and 10 rebounds from Przemyslaw Karnowski and Mateusz Ponitka scored 11 points in a losing effort. Poland once again failed to reach the semifinals, having reached the quarters in 2010 and 2002 while finishing sixth in 1964, 1970, 1974 and 1976,

Italy were playing without their leading scorer Amedeo Della Valle, who injured his back when he landed following a dunk in the final Qualifying Round game on Thursday.

Poland started well in taking a 9-5 lead. But the combination of Amedeo Tessitori and Imbro gave Italy a 13-11 lead as the Italian defense worked hard.

Poland were within 20-17 but could not find any rhythm on offense and watched Imbro knock down two triples and Monaldi also hit from long range as Italy extended their lead to 16 points at the break 36-20 - having committed just four turnovers.

The hosts cut the margin to 40-29 before Chillo scored seven points in an 11-0 Italian run to finish the third quarter leading 51-29.

Poland tried their best to get back into the game but the Italians had built a big enough lead and gathered enough confidence offensively to fend off any comeback attempt.

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