Group C: Montenegro Hold Off Turkey, Lithuania Roll

17 July 2009
By David Hein

What a difference a day makes as Montenegro held onto a late lead to win 61-58 over Turkey, who failed to pull out a last second victory in Group C play at the U20 European Championship.

Sead Sehovic and Nikola Djokovic each scored 12 points and Nikola Vucevic collected 11 points and 11 rebounds to help Montenegro to the win. The result evens Montenegro's record at 1-1 after failing to hold an eight-point fourth quarter lead against Lithuania on Thursday.

Turkey dropped to 1-1 as well after Melih Mahmutoglu could not convert on a last-second three-pointer a day after the guard beat Israel with a three-ball at the buzzer.

Erol Can Cinko nailed four three-pointers in leading Turkey with 15 points. No other player scored more than six points for Ene Orhun's team.

The game was even early until Djokovic and Vucevic sparked a 7-0 run for a 16-9 lead midway through the first quarter. But Cinko knocked down two triples to cut the margin to 21-19 after one period.

Montenegro continued their strong play and built the lead to 38-29 on Vucevic's jumper. But again Cinko was on target from long range and Turkey trailed 40-32 at the break.

Djokovic started the second half with a three-ball to open a 43-32 lead before Turkey went on a 10-2 run to close within 46-44. Djokovic again hit from long range and the advantage was 50-46 after three periods.

Can Ozcan cut the deficit to one point on a trey to start the fourth only to see Vucevic score two baskets in a 9-0 run for a 59-49 lead with less than four minutes to play.

Turkey came back again with Tufan Onen scoring five points in an 8-0 surge. But Gokper Gen turned the ball over with 7 seconds left and then Nikola Lalic made two foul shots with 4.2 seconds to play for a 61-58 lead.

Mahmutoglu, however, could not come up with another big shot as he lost the ball attempting a three-pointer and a foul was not called.

Lithuania Trounce Israel 

Lithuania remained perfect in Group C of the U20 European Championship with a 118-68 thrashing of Israel with six players scoring in double figures for the winners.

Simas Buterlevicius led all scorers with 19 points while Sarunas Vasiliauskas had 18 points, Zygimantas Janavicius scored 17, Mindaugas Kuzminskas chipped in 14 points, Adas Juskevicius tallied 11 and Donatas Motiejunas added 10 points.

The Lithuanian reserves all told scored 54 points and the team shot 56 percent from the floor for the game and only committed seven turnovers.

Amit Simhon paced Israel with 14 points while Sean Daniel and Yotam Shiran each scored 10 points for Israel, who dropped to 0-2 in the group.

Lithuania jumped on Israel right away, opening a 14-4 lead in the early going. Rimvydas Samulenas's team went on an 11-0 run to push the lead to 27-6 and the gap was 36-14 after one period.

The Lithuanians did not let up and increased the advantage to 31 points 57-26 late in the second quarter and went to intermission ahead 63-29.

The bulge grew to 41 points - 81-40 - thanks to a 15-2 mid-third quarter surge and Lithuania were up 91-50 after three periods.

A 17-0 run in the fourth quarter pushed the lead over 50 points and the biggest margin was 54 points.


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