By Yarone Arbel
France wrote a key 90-76 victory over Latvia on the second day of Group D to remain the only team in the group with a perfect record.
Yet another impressive offensive performance by a very athletic French team that held a nine point lead already at the break, on the way to a win that secures their spot in the Qualifying Round.
France now hold a 2-0 record while Latvia is down to 1-1.
Livio Jean-Charles showed his big talent with 18 points, Hugo Invernizzi calmed down after his big debut yesterday and had just 16 points today, as well as Benjamin John who added seven assists.
Yannis Morin finished with 15 points an 11 rebounds.
Kaspars Vecvagars led Latvia with 25 points and nine rebounds while Ojars Silins and Janis Berzins added 15 points each. Both combined nine three pointers in 11 attempts.
Vecvagars scored nine points already in the first quarter, which was enough to keep his team tied after ten minutes, 24-24.
The long Moris connected big plays to help push his team to a 34-27 lead, and when Invernizzi scored the last nine points of France in the half, his team took a 47-38 lead entering the break.
In the third quarter Howard started to get active and with rebounds and points pushed France to a decisive 70-48 lead.
Vecvagars and Silins scored from distance to cut on the margin, but managed to lower it only to 16 at the buzzer.
France showed better ability throughout most of the game, but Latvia enjoyed a very good shooting day to stay in the game.
Attacking the rim against the tall, long and athletic French players was difficult, but Latvia hit 15 three pointers in 60%, which is usually enough to get a W, but against France it was enough for a 14 point loss.
France will face Ukraine tomorrow while Latvia and Serbia will go head to head in a battle between two teams who have already lost to France.
Serbia Tally First Win
|Klym Artamonov had 26 points and nine rebounds for Ukraine, but it was not enough.|
Serbia wrote their first triumph in the Omnitel U16 European Championship Men with an 82-61 victory over Ukraine in Group D.
With this win Serbia climbs to 1-1 while Ukraine dropped to 0-2 and will play to avoid relegation to Division B regardless of the score in their third game tomorrow.
Nenad Miljenovic had 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Serbia in an MVP performance. Aleksandar Cvetkovic added 14 points while Vukasin Vujovic had 12 and Nemanja Bezbradica added 11.
Klym Artamonov led Ukraine with 26 points and nine rebounds. Mykhaylo Volchanov added 11 points with eight rebounds and Danylo Zuikov had 11 points as well.
Serbia took over the game in the second half when they kept Ukraine on only 23 points and opened the deciding gap.
"We arrived to the game only in the second half," said the Serbian coach Nenad Trunic.
"In order to win we have to be mentally ready and focused and after a bad first half we managed to change the pace of the game in our favor."
Artamonov was on fire in the early minutes, as Ukraine took an 11-6 lead.
Vujovic was in charge of Serbia's changeover to a 24-15 margin, but Artamonov scored 11 points in the last five minutes of the half to make it a 38-33 Ukrainian lead at the break.
Miljenovic felt he had enough and with back to back three balls put Serbia back on top.
He continued to create havoc in the Ukrainian defense and two assists of him to Vujovic helped Serbia enter the last quarter with a 59-51 gap.
Cvetkovic hit a long jumper off a Miljenovic pass and pushed the gap to 13.
Ukraine never managed to cut the difference lower than 10 until the buzzer.
Serbia will fight against Latvia for the second spot in the group, while Ukraine will play against France in a meaningless game for both sides.