Latvia remain unbeaten in the tournament after a 91-78 win over Israel continues their impressive form in Madrid.
Oskars Virsis, Dairis Bertans and Janis Kaufmanis all had good games again for the Latvians, with 24, 21 and 16 points respectively.
For Israel Anton Shoutvin impressed again with 24 points and 12 boards, but again found himself on the losing side as his teammates couldn’t match his level.
Israel started the game with their now characteristic terrier dog style, constantly nipping at the ankles of their bigger opponents and turning the first quarter into a close fought, entertaining contest.
|Anton Shoutvin's play left little to be desired with 24 points and 12 rebounds.|
Their high energy style of play cost them the lead, however, as they gave away free throws too easily to let Latvia lead the tie 18-17 at the first break.
In the second Israel started to command the show, with Shoutvin shining with eight points and four rebounds in this quarter.
A 14-0 partial from his side gave Israel a ten point lead 38-28 with the end of the half approaching, leaving Latvia contemplating their first defeat of the tournament.
But for the Latvians Bertans was making sure it stayed close.
His buzzer beating trey at the end of the half sent the sides to the locker room with only three points in it, Israel leading 39-36.
Just as had happened in the other games with Israel their legs started to tire as the game went on, while Latvia plowed on with their physical game.
A string of missed Israel shots in the opening minutes of the third let a strong and consistent Latvia back in front.
Their percentage from beyond the arc dropped from 66.7% to 33.3% as they missed every shot from that range.
A powerful dunk from Shoutvin followed by two successful free throws with 1:23 remaining in the third gave Israel their last lead of the game before Latvia started to run away in the final phase.
Virsis shone on a number of fast breaks on his way to 13 points for the quarter, completing a haul of 24 points, and 15 rebounds to seal the result as Latvia’s opponents failed to keep up with them.
“Israel are uncomfortable opponents for everybody here,” said coach Varis Krumins after the win.
“We won this match only in the fourth quarter, when they were tired and couldn't cope with our game”.
Despite four straight wins against complicated opposition he was keen to point out that nothing had been achieved yet: “This is a good win, of course, but the main game for us has to be the one tomorrow”.