After a rest day in Belgrade, Spain and Italy got their U18 European Championship campaigns off to the perfect start in the Quarter-Final Round with wins over Israel and Latvia respectively.
Spain kept their unbeaten record alive with a simple defeat of Israel.
|Xavier Rey Sanuy had 15 points and 16 boards against Israel|
Israel managed to make a game of it for just over 10 minutes, but Spain outscored Israel 21-8 in the last 8 minutes of the second period to open up a 12-point halftime lead, 43-31.
The writing was on the wall for Israel in the second half as Spain easily controlled the game and cruised to victory.
Spain's big men Jose Antelo and Xavier Rey Sanuy had a field day inside, combining for 31 points and 30 rebounds.
While Spain had what proved to be a relatively easy task, Italy faced a much more difficult prospect against Latvia.
Indeed, Latvia controlled the game for nearly three quarters, before Italy romped home with a 26-11 fourth quarter performance.
Italy were forced to play catch-up for most of the contest and fell behind by 10 points as early as the 8th minute (22-12).
Italy came storming back in the second to take a brief lead, but it was Latvia who regrouped to retake the lead which they managed to extend to as many as 11 points in the third quarter (57-46).
It was Italy's Luigi Datome who sparked a comeback which would see his side stun the Latvians.
Seconds after picking up his fourth foul, Datome sprang to life, scoring the last 8 points of the quarter for his team and bringing them back to within 3 points at the end of the third quarter (59-56).
Matteo Frassineti kept up the momentum for Italy in the fourth, swishing consecutive jumpers to give his side the lead (59-60) and then it was back to Datome.
The 202 cm forward nailed a further 10 points in the final period before fouling out with 1:49 remaining. However, his work was done as Italy led 70-76 and they were able to close the game from the free throw line.
Datome finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals, while Frassineti added 21 points.
Ernests Kalve, the tournament's leading scorer (26 ppg) had 22 points for Latvia.