Maik Zirbes went for 22 points and 11 rebounds and Maurice Stuckey tallied 20 points as Germany surprised France 81-73 in Group C of the U18 European Championship for Men.
Germany also received 11 points each from Simon Schmitz and Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann in knocking off the highly-touted French side in Amaliada.
France were out-rebounded 43-21 in wasting a 20-point showing by Jonathan Bourhis, who made six three-pointers, as well as 17 points by Alexis Tanghe.
Zirbes and Schmitz combined for the first 10 points as Germany pulled ahead 10-2 early on their way to a 13-9 lead after one period. Wolfarth-Bottermann scored nine points in the second period and Kay Bluemel's team led 32-23. But the French turned up their defense and Bourhis made two three-pointers in a 13-0 France surge in giving Philippe Ory's side a 38-34 advantage at the break.
Stuckey made three lay-ups to spark an 11-0 Germany run for a 48-43 lead. Tanghe hit consecutive baskets in a 7-0 France answer and Nicolas Lang's three-ball had the French ahead 57-54 after three periods. There were seven lead changes to start the fourth quarter with France holding its final advantage at 65-62. Stuckey scored eight points in a 10-0 German run for a 72-65 lead. It was 76-68 with just a minute left and Schmitz made three foul shots in the final 11 seconds for the victory.
Israel Get By Belgium
Israel opened their Group A campaign with a 64-58 victory over Belgium with Ben Reis and Yotam Shiran leading the way with 14 points each. Tamir Ariely chipped in 12 points and Carmel Bouchman grabbed 11 rebounds for the victors in Pyrgos.
Thomas De Thaey led Belgium with 14 points while Alexandre Libert added 12 and Senna Hounhanou added a game-high 14 rebounds.
The game went back and forth before Reis's free throws gave the Israelis an 18-16 lead. Terry Deroover and De Thaey both knocked down three-balls in an 8-0 run for a 24-18 Belgium lead after one period. Reis sparked an 8-2 Israel answer to knot the game at 26-26 and Dan Franko's team led 33-31 at the break.
Shiran and Ariely both knocked down three-pointers to open a 41-33 lead, which was just 47-44 going into the fourth. Tal Karpelesz drained two important long balls in keeping Israel ahead 53-48. But De Thaey knotted the game at 53-53 with a trey of his own. Omer Rub's lay-up gave Israel a 61-53 advantage before Belgium's final comeback attempt as De Thaey's jumper made it 61-58 with 28 seconds left. But Ariely made a lay-up to secure the win.