By Jared Grellet
|Rauls Avenitis seemed unstoppable at times, scoring 26 points as Latvia shocked Russia|
Rauls Avenitis has powered Latvia into the second round at the Dadu U16 European Championship Men, scoring 26 points to see his team past Russia 66-59.
With just two points in the opening frame and Latvia trailing by seven, the small forward came alive over the next two quarters, scoring 20 points to turn a five-point deficit into a 10-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.
18 of Avenitis' points came from outside the perimeter.
The home team gave their fans plenty to stress about in the final three minutes, allowing Russia to come back from 14 points down to be within four with 50 seconds remaining. But David Cima provided the winning touch, sinking a free-throw with 13 seconds remaining to edge the buffer back out to five points.
Assisting Avenitis with 11 points was his captain Cima.
Mikhail Maleyko ended the night as Russia's top scorer with 18 points.