|07 August 2009|
By Yarone Arbel
Russia is in the Qualifying Round after a 76-52 victory over Greece in Group B of the Omnitel U16 European Championship Men.
A big third quarter run made the difference in favor of Russia after a close first half.
After the loss to Poland late yesterday Greece knew they must find a way to win, and fought with every possible tool to make it happen, but it didn't last for much more than a single half.
Sergey Karasev had another good game this time with 17 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, joined by Denis Zakharov and Vladislav Trushkin with ten points each.
Apollon Dellgeorgis led Greece with 12 points and five rebounds.
Both teams had a bad shooting day.
Russia hit only four shots from long range in 21 attempts, but it was still better than Greece who hit just one three pointer out of 16 shots.
The first 90 seconds of the game showed Russia climb to a quick 7-0 lead, which later extended to 13-2 with 3:30 gone.
Dellgeorgis got to work though and by the end of the first ten minutes the gap was already only six, 20-14.
Greece didn't have their best shooting day, but fought hard and forced Russia to commit five turnovers in the second quarter, enough to slowly close the gap and enter the break tied at 33-33.
Russia wasted no time coming back from the break and saw Karasev score seven points in a row, to create a nine point gap, 45-36.
Zakharov and Trushkin took over to make a difference, and right before the third quarter buzzer Russia's lead jumped to 22 points, 62-40, their biggest of the game up to that point.
Russia allowed some rest for the key players which didn't have much effect on the final score and gap.
Without a real threat from distance Greece were unable to put pressure on Russia.
They'll have to look for their survival ticket in the next games.
Russia will face Poland tomorrow while Greece will fight for survival against the hosting team of Lithuania.
Lithuania On The Brink
The most shocking result of the Omnitel U16 European Championship Men took place on the second day of Group B when Poland upset the hosting team of Lithuania 67-64.
This win sends Poland to the next phase with a chance to win the group tomorrow against Russia, as both teams share the same 2-0 record now.
Lithuania dropped to an unpleasant 0-2 record, the same as Greece, as both teams will fight tomorrow in a win-or-die game to survive.
The big center Przemyslaw Karnowski had another good performance, this time with 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Piotr Niedzwiedzki had 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Mateusz Ponitka and Michal Michalak scored 11 each.
The local Tauras Jogela was the top scorer for Lithuania with 17 points and five rebounds, Rokas Narkevicius added 13 points and Tomas Lekunas finished with 10.
After the loss to Russia on Day 1 it seemed like Lithuania will take all their energy out on the neighbors from the western border, but Poland had different plans.
After a close first half Poland took a small lead but Lithuania fought back, before the finish line when Poland scored the last four points of the game to win by three.
Four players shared the first four baskets of Lithuania on their way to an 8-2 lead.
Niedzwiedzki showed the first signs that something may not have been right for Lithuania, when he cut the difference to only one, and the teams separated at 21-20 for Lithuania after one quarter.
Poland scored the first five points of the second quarter and took their first lead, but Narkevicius led an 11-0 run that seemed to put the game back in order, but not for long.
Ponitka displayed good moves to bring his team to the break tied at 34-34.
Poland took a small lead early in the third, but it was stable for the entire quarter, and a lay up by Gielo pushed his team inside the fourth quarter with a 50-45 margin.
Once again a team effort made the difference for Lithuania as five different players scored in a 12-0 run to give their team a 57-50 advantage with 6:40 to play.
Karnowski answered on the other end with a 7-0 run to tie the game, and from that point on began the race.
Jogela put Lithuania on top for the last time, 64-63 with 51 ticks on the clock but followed with a turnover and Karnowski grabbed an crucial offensive board after a free throw miss in the last seconds to secure the win.