Round-Up and Quarter-Final Report: Spain 101 Russia 81

16.07.2004

Sergio Rodriguez had 29 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists
Two teams from each preliminary round group will play tomorrow night in the Semi-finals of the U18 European Championship. Spain – Italy, France – Turkey. Three of the teams had a pretty easy job and won their games by 20 points or more. France put an end to the cinderela story of Israel with a 23 point win, Turkey eliminated Serbia & Montenegro with a 20 point win while Spain jumped over Russia with a 20 point win of its own. Italy was the only team that had to fight for its place in the Semi-finals, and it was one hell of a fight. It took an overtime and a last second missed shot by Greece to give the Italians a ride to the Semi-finals.

An MVP show from Sergio Rodriguez launched Spain to the Semi-Finals on Russia’s account this evening. The host team will have to leap over Italy first if it wants to perform in front of its fans in the final game on Sunday night however. Russia will play for the 5-8 place games against Greece.

Russia showed up for the game without its head-coach who had to stay at the hotel for health reasons, while Spain looked healthier than ever. Sergio Rodriguez had 29 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in one of the best performances, if not the best, of a single player in this Championship. Antelo added 30 points and 6 rebounds. Spain easily dominated the boards and took 23 rebounds more than Russia (55-32) – in case anyone needed another example for way Spain won by 20 points.

Another unbelievable assist by Sergio Rodriguez lifted Spain for an early 10-5 lead. Russia did what it does best – run, and Kourbanov with another great dunk made it a 14-14 tie with 1:30 minutes to play in the first quarter. Antelo, who had a terrific first half with 17 points, made sure Spain finished the first 10 minutes leading by 1 point, 17-16.

Nikita Shabalkin
Game Video
First halftime
100k | 500k
Second halftime
100k | 500k
A series of missed close shots in the paint by Spain opened the 2nd quarter, but once again Antelo was there to set the score on 29-23 after 15 minutes. Rodriguez added 2 more from the line to finalize the run and give an 11 point lead for his team, 35-24. It was the same Rodriguez that hit a three pointer and started one last run before the end of the second quarter, as Spain took a 49-34 lead after one half.

It took Spain 3 minutes to register its first 2nd half points, and by then Russia had already scored 5 in a row. Shabalkin opened with a 3 pointer and Russia made it’s way back to the game. Or so it seemed. Not for Sergio Rodriguez. With 2 more dazzling assists he pushed Spain for a 12-0 run and a 20 point lead, 64-44, with 3 minutes to play in the 3rd. Rodriguez continued with its stunning show and Spain stepped into the 3rd quarter with a 19 point lead, 69-50.

Down by 17, 76-59, Russia made its last effort for a comeback. The Russian coach called for a timeout and sent in his soldiers to fight for survival. Zavoruev with a 4 point play brought his team to 78-65, then added another 3 pointer, to make it a 10 point game, but after Kourbanov fouled out Spain took off with an 8-1 run, and sealed the deal.

 


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