SMALL COUNTRIES MEN
|Samuel Deguara was once again an indomitable force for Malta|
Malta beat San Marino 89-68 to set up a European Championship for Small Countries Men final with defending champions Andorra, who ousted Scotland with an 84-63 victory.
Guard Darryl Jackson and giant center Samuel Deguara were instrumental again in securing Malta's win. Deguara had a double-double, adding 13 rebounds to 21 points scored on 10-of-12 shooting, as the Maltese team shot 57% from the field overall.
Jackson top-scored with 23 points, and Michael Naudi added 19 for Malta, who ended the first quarter with a 10-3 run and didn't trail thereafter, with Deguara's tough shot inside extending the lead to 12 points by half-time.
San Marino were unable to launch a second-half comeback as they shot less than 36% in the match, with Malta dominating the boards also. 18-year-old guard Julian Gualtieri has often been a bright spark for San Marino in this tournament, and he led them in this match with 14 points.
Andorra opened their semi-final against Scotland with a 22-2 run to take control. Guillem Colom notched 11 of his game-high 21 points in the brisk opening, and although the Scottish team were able to close out the quarter on a 13-2 run to bring the deficit below 10, they were always playing catch-up and didn't get any closer than six.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Oriol Fernandez and Esteve Malet Salto pushed the lead to 69-45 by the end of the third quarter to extinguish any lingering Scottish hopes. Cinto Gabriel ended with 14 points for Andorra, who beat Moldova in the 2012 final.
Lee Reilly needed 16 shots for his team-high 15 points, while Nicholas Collins added 13 points and five steals for Scotland, who will compete with San Marino on Saturday for the bronze medal.