By David Hein
Nikola Vucevic and Milos Savovic each registered double-doubles to push Montenegro into the Qualifying Round of the U20 European Championship Men with a convincing 66-50 victory over Israel in Group C.
Vucevic collected 18 points and 16 rebounds and Savovic had 17 and 11 while Nikola Ivanovic added 10 points to off-set just six points from captain Sead Sehovic as Montenegro improved to 2-1.
Sean Daniel scored 11 points and Anton Shoutvin added 10 points for the Israelis who shot just 33 percent for the game and will play to avoid relegation after finishing the qualifying round at 0-3.
Dejan Radonjic's Montenegrins jumped ahead 13-7 before Israel fought back to within 17-12 after one period.
In the second quarter, Savovic and Vucevic combined for seven points and Ivanovic nailed a three-pointer as Montenegro used a 10-1 run to open a 32-18 lead, which was 32-20 at the break.
Daniel scored two baskets and Tamir Ariely drained a three-ball in Israel's 9-2 start to the second half to make it 34-29. But Montenegro closed the third period on an 11-4 run for a 45-33 advantage after three periods.
Montenegro did not let up at all in the fourth quarter with Vucevic scoring seven points and both Savovic and Ivanovic hitting for five points as Radonjic's team increased the lead to 18 points and never allowed Israel closer than 10 in the fourth.
Lithuania Tops Group
Lithuania scored the final six points of the game to secure first place and a perfect 3-0 record in Group C of the U20 European Championship with a 65-59 victory over Turkey.
Simas Buterlevicius paced Lithuania with 17 points while Mindaugas Kuzminskas added 13 points and 10 rebounds and Donatas Motiejunas scored 10 points.
Melih Mahmutoglu tallied 16 points as the only player in double-digit scoring for Turkey, who hit just 3 of 24 (12%) from long range in dropping to 1-2 in the group and taking third place to advance to the qualifying round.
Turkey had a strong first quarter, especially Mahmutoglu, who hit two three-pointers and converted a three-point play in helping the Turks to a 16-10 lead. Buterlevicius, however, knocked down two triples of his own and Turkey's lead was just 19-18 after one period.
Ene Orhun's Turkish side never surrendered the lead in the second quarter even though Lithuania twice scored five straight points to even the game (at 23-23 and 33-33). And baskets by Dusan Cantekin and Mahmutoglu to close the half gave Turkey a 37-33 advantage at the break.
Rimvydas Samulenas's Lithuanians came out stronger in the second half with Buterlevicius converting a three-point play to put them ahead 38-37. The forward scored two more baskets in helping Lithuania push the margin to 50-42, and the Baltic nation was ahead 54-46 after three periods.
Gokper Gen's three-pointer and basket finished a 9-1 start for Turkey in the fourth quarter to knot the game at 55-55. And it was even 59-59 with under two minutes left.
Kuzminskas broke the tie and converted a turnover into a layup for a 63-59 lead with 1:37 remaining. And the Turks could not execute down the stretch missing three triples and committing one turnover in the final 1:13 and Buterlevicius's two foul shots with 13 seconds iced the game.