Italy Clinch Bronze, First Medal Since 1994

15.07.2007

It's not the gold, but co-hosts Italy collected their first medal at the U20 European Championship Men since 1994 in beating Russia 74-63 for the bronze.

Luigi Da Tome (pictured) led the way with 26 points and Pietro Aradori added 11 points for the 1992 gold medal winners and 1994 runners-up.

"This means a lot. It's the first medal for Italy since 1994, so it's been a long long time," said Italian guard Daniel Hackett, who also praised Da Tome's showing.

"He was our main guy. He really came out for us today and played a great game."
Pietro Aradori (ITA)
Pietro Aradori helped Italy with 11 points


Russia pulled ahead early 11-8 but then struggled with the Italian press as Pino Sacripant's team used a 23-3 run to grab a 31-14 lead midway through the second quarter.

Alexey Shved, who scored 14 points for Russia, took over more responsibilty and helped Russia to close within seven points before trailing 38-30 at half-time.

The co-hosts surged ahead again by 17 points - 58-41 - and led 58-44 going into the fourth quarter.

Aradori's lay-up gave the Italians a 64-49 lead with 7:02 to play.

But Russia trimmed the lead to six points with a 9-0 thanks to Italy coming up empty on five straight possessions.

Da Tome's three-pointer ended the drought and regained a nine-point advantage, 67-58, with 3:45 to go.

And Russia would not get closer than nine points the rest of the way with Alessandro Piazza hitting two foul shots to make it 72-61 wtih 22 seconds to play.

"Our team spirit makes us tough to beat. We glued together and we work hard and are willing to make the extra pass. Our defence was able to hold teams at 60 points so that's always a win for us," added Hackett.

Russia, who took the U20 crown in 2005, improved from their 10th placed showing last summer.

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