Group D: Italy Overpower Bulgaria, Georgia Thrash Latvia
Italy followed the lead of U20 European Championship Men co-hosts Slovenia with an 86-51 victory over Bulgaria in their Group D opener.
Pietro Aradori led the way for Pino Sacripanti's team with 15 points while Gino Cuccarolo added 13 points and 21 rebounds as Italy were hardly ever threatened.
The co-hosts scored the first 10 points of the game and led by 11 points before the Bulgarians closed the first quarter on a 8-0 run to pull to within 18-15.
Italy finished the second half on a 7-0 push to open a 33-22 advantage at the break. And they broke the game open for good in the third period with a 25-15 advantage for a 58-37 lead.
An 11-3 run to start the fourth made it 69-40 and Ariel Filloy's jumper pushed the advantage to a game-high 41 points, 86-45 with 56 seconds to play.
|Stoyo Cholakov's 10 points were not enough for Bulgaria|
Chavdar Kostov scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Stoyo Cholakov had 10 for Bulgaria, who struggled to 28% shooting (16 of 58) and 17 turnovers while being out-rebounded 58-27.
In Group D's first game, five players scored in double figures as Georgia thrashed Latvia 102-72.
Lasha Parghalava paced Georgia with 19 points and Giorgi Shermadini added 17. Mikhail Berishvili and Rezo Didia each had 14 points and Giorgi Gaprindashvili chipped in 13 for the winners.
David Ustiashvili's team shot 59% for the game while holding Latvia to 37% from the field.
Georgia opened the game with the first eight points but fell behind 12-10 three minutes into the game. Still, Parghalava led the charge back to lead 30-21 after the first period.
The lead pushed to 20 points in the second quarter, and Georgia led 56-37 at half-time. Every attempt for Latvia to come back was shattered by Ustiashvili's long-range bombers as Georgia made 15 of 26 three-pointers.
Georgia were ahead 83-54 through three periods and increased the advantage to 39 points - 98-59 - with 4:24 remaining.
On Saturday, Bulgaria play Latvia after which Italy take on Georgia.