Hosts Go Down To England In Opener

9. Martin Krstevski (F.Y.R. of Macedonia)
Martin Krstevski and F.Y.R. of Macedonia had to cope with a set back to England on the opening day in Strumica

The host team in Strumica, FYR of Macedonia, lost the first game of the U16 European Championships Men Division B after a brave battle.

England came away with the victory but the home fans left proud of the spirit of their team in the 60-73 loss.

FYR of Macedonia began the game well and were leading 22-21 after 15 minutes. England then ended the first half on a 17-6 run to take a ten-point lead.

England went on a further surge in the second half, a 25-13 run taking the game away from the home team.

Tyrell Isaacs led England with 20 points and six rebounds. Morayoninuoluwa Soluade added a double-double (12 points and 11 rebounds). For the home team, Daniel Nacevski also achieved a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

"We proved that Macedonia play good basketball. I'm very satisfied, despite losing the first game. This isn't the end, it's only one game. We have three more, so we want to win a couple" said Igor Mihajlovski, head coach for FYR of Macedonia.

England head coach Simon Fisher said: "We beat a very good team tonight. They played really good, but we also had some very big performances".

The other Group A game went to double-overtime. Romania were four seconds away from victory on two occassions, thanks to huge double-doubles contributed by Vlad Cobzaru (17 points and 22 rebounds) and Andrei Ziordas (16 points and 18 rebounds), and 23 points from Mehmet Hortoglu.

But Luxembourg's Thomas Grün (22 points and 8 rebounds) scored one of two free throws with 0:04 remaining in regulation time, and again made the tying score with 0:04 remaining in overtime. In double-overtime, Luxembourg held Romania scoreless for the final 3:39 to win 78-73.

In Group D, a shot by Emmanuel Lecomte with two seconds left won the game for Belgium, 59-58 vs Estonia. Lecomte was the high-scorer for the game with 21 points, while Sten Olmre scored 19 for Estonia.

In the other game, Bosnia and Herzegovina beat Denmark 73-42. Nedim Buza scored 19 points for Bosnia.

In Group C, Hungary were able to capitalise on a strong first quarter and beat Armenia 78-58. Armenia were better after the slow start, but Hungary pulled away at the end of the game. Arkadiy Mkrtychyan scored a game-high 19 points for Armenia.

A strong first half by Switzerland saw them past the Slovak Republic in a 74-43 win. Cyril Bächler scored 20 points in the Swiss win.

And Sweden shut down Ireland in the second half to secure an 84-51 win. The first half finished 40-32, but Sweden moved clear with good defense and 20 points from Ludvig Erik Hakanson.

In Group B, a 15-2 run in the second quarter pushed the Netherlands clear of Portugal in a 68-48 win. Bas Veenstra collected 23 points and 8 rebounds for the Dutch team.

Finland's tough defense held Austria to just 10 second-half points in a 61-40 win. Ozan Odabasi and Emir Sulejmanovic both picked up double-doubles for the Finnish team.

And Slovenia and Cyprus finished the day's action with a high-tempo match, Slovenia winning 84-63 thanks largely to a 21-5 first quarter. Slovenia's Jure Ritlop contributed a double-double (13 points and 10 rebounds).

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