By David Hein
Ukraine improved to 2-0 in Group D of the U20 European Championship by holding off Croatia 86-79 thanks to a balanced attack.
Denys Lukashov collected 22 points and nine rebounds to lead four Ukrainians in double figures. Stanislav Tymofeyenko added 17 points and 11 rebounds while Olexiy Shchepkin had 15 points off the bench and reserve Andriy Novikov chipped in 14 points.
Croatia dropped to 1-1 despite 30 points by Karlo Vragovic. Antonio Ostric added 13 points, Bojan Bogdanovic scored 11 points and Marijo Hajdic chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds.
Croatia played with only 11 players though Matej Karlovic was added to the team. Either Mario Delas or Tomislav Zubcic are expected to be added to the squad on Sunday.
Lukashov and Tymofeyenko both drained treys to help Ukraine jump out to a 12-6 lead early. A Vragovic triple pulled Croatia within 16-14 but Tymofeyenko continued his hot night with nine points in the first quarter for a 22-18 Ukraine lead.
|Ukraine moved to 2-0 with their win over Croatia.|
Olexiy Chygrynov drained a three-ball and Shchepkin converted a three-point play to give Ukraine their biggest lead thus far at 32-25. Vragovic however answered with a three-ball and Ostric also hit from long range to pull the Croatians within 34-33.
Ukraine opened a 38-33 gap but Vragovic, Ostric and Marko Radic all connected from outside to give Darko Kunce's team a 46-42 lead which was 46-42 at the break.
Vragovic hit another triple during an 11-4 Croatia run to open a 57-48 advantage. Novikov knocked down a trey and Lukashov's two foul shots trimmed the margin to 59-55. But Bogdanovic and Karlovic nailed back-to-back long balls as the gap opened to 10 points - 65-55. But Lukashov hit from long range as Ukraine made it 67-62 after three quarters.
Novikov came out strong in the fourth period hitting three baskets and Lukashov had two jumpers for a 13-1 surge for a 75-68 lead. Another Lukashov jumper and Vladyslav Tonchenko's layup gave Ukraine an 81-71 lead with less than three minutes left.
Vragovic refused to let Croatia go away, converting on two three-point plays to close within 81-79 with a minute to play. But Novikov nailed a three-pointer with 37 seconds left and Croatia turned the ball over with 24 seconds to play to finish any thoughts of a comeback.
Dragan Milosavljevic's layup at the buzzer gave Serbia a 79-77 victory over Germany, eliminating the tough-luck losers from the qualifying round in Group D play at the U20 European Championship.
Filip Covic scored 23 points and Stefan Stojacic added 17 points for Serbia, who improved to 1-1 despite relinquishing an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Serbia Break German Hearts
Germany dropped to 0-2 after an overtime loss on Thursday to Croatia despite Elias Harris scoring 24 points against Serbia, Robin Benzing hitting for 23 and Philipp Schwethelm adding 15 points.
Henrik Rodl's team is eliminated from the next round since both Croatia and Serbia have a tiebreak advantage.
Germany missed their first nine shots and did not score until Benzing's three-pointer nearly four minutes into the first quarter. The Serbs however could only grab an 8-0 lead before that and it was 15-6 before Germany started to find a rhythm.
Stojacic's three-ball and layup gave Serbia a 21-9 lead, which was 21-11 after one period.
Bojan Subotic nailed a triple and Stefan Bircevic converted a three-point play as the lead grew to 27-11. And Bircevic and Covic both hit from long range to keep the Serbs ahead 35-20.
But Benzing began heating up and scored Germany's final eight points of the quarter and cut Serbia's lead was 40-28 at the break.
Germany picked up their defense after intermission and Serbia went cold missing their first seven shots as Germany closed within 40-37.
Schwethelm's trey brought Germany within 45-43. But Milosavljevic answered with a long ball of his own as Serbia lead 53-45 after three periods.
Stojacic and Covic again knocked down triples and the lead was still 64-53 with six minutes to play. And it was 65-55 with less than five minutes left. But Schwethelm and Harris both knocked down big three-pointers, Harris's long ball pulling the Germans within 75-73 with 27 seconds left.
Covic twice made just one of two free throws for a 77-75 lead with 15 seconds left. But Schwethelm raced down to tie the game on a layup with 10 seconds remaining. And Milosavljevic drove down the right side and fought in a tough layup for the winner.