Greece, Ukraine Survive Relegation Battle

31 July 2009

Greece beat Israel 80-54 to finish 3-0 in Group G of the Classification Round at the U18 European Championship Men 2009 in Metz France.

The result saw Greece hold on to their Division A status while the loss for Israel - combined with Ukraine's 79-70 win over the Czech Republic - saw them fall to 1-2 only good enough for third place and more importantly relegate them to Division B.

The Czechs will also be demoted after failing to win a single game in the tournament.

Andreas Kanonidis had a game-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds in leading Greece over Israel. The Greeks led 39-19 at half time and were never threatened seriously after the break.

Ukraine meanwhile built on their second win of the tournament on Wednesday to edge out the Czech Republic and avoid relegation.

Behind 35 points and 10 rebounds from V'Yacheslav Brobocv, the Ukrainians built double-digits in the second and third quarters only to see the Czechs rally back to be within striking distance. But they ran out of steam and time in the fourth and Brobov's shot basket with just over a minute remaining proved the final nail in the coffin.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria will face Latvia in the 9th-10th place game after beating Germany 55-47.

The Germans shot only 17 for 53 (including a poor five for 22 from three-point range) and were an appalling eight for 23 from the free-throw line. They were outscored 13-5 in the second quarter and despite cutting into a second half double-digit deficit in the final frame, the Bulgarians made enough free-throws down the stretch to secure the win.

Latvia crushed Slovenia 93-71 behind Ugis Pinete's game-high 22 points.  The Latvians got off to a great start, taking a 28-13 lead at the end of the first quarter and adding to that advantage in the second period for a 56-30 advantage at the break. They tailed off somewhat late in the third quarter but had built a big enough cushion to prevail.

Germany will face Slovenia in the 11th-12th place game.

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