Andriy Lebedintsev and Maksym Sandul combined for 46 points as Ukraine beat Portugal 67-55 to clinch their first win of the group stages at Ierapetra.
The result means that Oleg Ruban’s men will go through to the qualifying round of the competition while Portugal will have to fight for survival after finishing at the bottom of Group C without a win (0-3).
‘Yesterday we played well against Turkey but for just one half. Today we played well for the whole game,’ said Lebedintsev afterwards.
|Andriy Lebedintsev led the way for Ukraine with 29 points.|
‘We are very happy to go through to the next round. We can get some rest tomorrow and be ready for Tuesday’s game.’
Ukraine used a 10-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarter to end all hopes of a comeback by Portugal who fought valiantly but saw their hopes of a win vanish when they failed to get enough stops defensively and were outscored 39-28 after the break.
‘It’s disappointing not to win a game but we knew we had three tough opponents in this group,’ said Portugal head coach Auguto Arauzo.
‘We played well in the first half but then had trouble after half time. Now we must get ready to fight to stay in Division 1.’
Lebedintsev had a great all-around game with 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists while Sandul added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Portugal stayed close in the first half, trailing by just a point, 28-27, at the break thanks to the firepower of Miguel Rodrigues who finished with a team-high 16 points.
But Ukraine’s run in the second half saw them turn a 41-41 tie into a 51-41 lead and Arauzo’s men were unable to recover.
Joao Mesquita added 15 points for Portugal.