Spain won the U18 European Championship Men title in 2004 and they are off to a winning start in the tournament one year later after edging Latvia 84-82 on the first day of games in Belgrade.
The Spaniards rode their luck as Latvia missed a potential game-tying jump shot with three seconds to play.
|Albert Teruel (Spain) |
Spain's shooting guard Marc Fernandez saw his pass get intercepted by Kristaps Brencans with six seconds remaining, and he launched his jumper shortly after but missed.
Time then expired to leave the Baltic country with a frustrating setback.
The Spanish took control with a big run that start two minutes into the last quarter.
Trailing 67-61 with 7:48 to play, they reeled off 14 successive points to hold a 75-67 advantage with 5:01 to play.
Spaini appeared to be in good shape when Fernandez sank a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left for an 84-80 lead.
But small forward Albert Teruel, Spain's star of the game with 20 points and 11 rebounds, fouled Aigars Strelis. The clock stopped with 11 seconds remaining, and Strelis made both attempts from the line.
That set the stage for Latvia's Brencans to steal Fernandez's pass but he missed his jumper and Spain held on for a close win.
Ernests Kalve led Latvia with 20 points.