Latvia beat Ukraine 73-58 to earn their first victory of the qualifying round in Rethimnon today.
The result means that the two teams who, prior to the game were with Israel the only sides without a win in the qualifying round, will finish bottom of Group F and play for places 9 through to 12 over the weekend.
Latvia jumped out to an early 11-2 advantage as they caught Ukraine napping on defense and made several easy lay ups.
But Oleg Ruban’s men woke up and came back to within one, 13-12 thanks to Andriy Lebedintsev and Gennadiy Dzyuba.
Janis Antrops though was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 13 of his game-high 17 points, and helped Latvia take a 17-12 lead at end of first quarter.
Ukraine erased that deficit in the second period and took its first lead of the game, 21-20 on Lebedintsev’s three-point shot with 7:15 left in the half.
The teams then swapped the lead for a while before Antrops converted a three-point play just before half time to put Latvia ahead 35-31.
After the break, Juris Petrovs’ side used a 9-0 run – capped off off by Janis Berzins’ three-pointer – for a 46-35 lead with 5:15 left in the third quarter.
Anatoliy Gumennyy answered back by making a pair of shots from long range as Ukraine cut the deficit to six, 47-41, but that’s as close as they would get the rest of the way.
Antrops made a reverse lay up to put his team up by nine, 56-47, at the end of the third quarter and Latvia then used an 11-0 run to go up by as many as 23, 73-50, on Artjoms Butjankovs’ lay up midway through the final period.
Roberts Freimanis had 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Latvia.
Gumennyy had a team-high 16 points for Ukraine and Lebedintsev added 12 – all in the first half – but also committed 10 turnovers.