Latvia Stay In The Race After Crushing Ukraine

Latvia remained very much alive for a spot in the semi-finals of the U18 European Championship Men after a dominating 86-54 victory over Ukraine.

Martins Laksa and Davis Rozitis each scored 14 points and Lauris Blaus added eight points and 17 rebounds as Varis Krumins's Latvians improved to 2-2 in the Qualifying Round Group F.

Igor Dobrikov paced Ukraine with 11 points, but Oleg Ruban's team shot just 34 percent for the game in dropping to 0-4.

After Ukraine opened the scoring, Armandis Osins's three-ball sparked an 8-0 Latvian run. Davis Rozitis's basket gave Krumins's side a 12-4 advantage. Ukraine came back in the low-scoring first quarter to trail just 14-8. Andriy Lebedinstev made it 14-10 before Osins drained two more baskets in spear-heading a 12-2 surge to lead 26-12.

Igor Dobrikov and Oleksandr Lypovyy both hit triples in helping Ukraine try to stay in the game, but the Latvians increased the lead to 20 points for a 38-20 advantage at intermission.

Ukraine were unable to get any closer than 19 points early in the third period and a 9-0 spurt by Latvia pushed the advantage to 30 points - 59-29.

Ruslan Dmytrenko and Oleksandr Osnach brought Ukraine within 23 points but it was 62-36 after three periods. Rozitis came off the bench and helped Krumins's team run away with the game in the fourth quarter, opening a 39-point advantage 82-43 late.

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