Serbia, Israel Retain Division A Status

17 July 2013

U20 MEN

Serbia and Israel will play for a place between 13th and 16th at the Sportland U20 European Championship while Ukraine and the Czech Republic enter the race to avoid relegation from Division A.

Following Wednesday's results in Group G, Serbia took first place and will meet Sweden on Friday while Israel claimed second spot and will face off with Bulgaria on the same day.

8. Sasa Avramovic (Serbia)
Sasa Avramovic enjoyed his best game for Serbia so far, erupting for 19 points

Serbia accomplished their mission in Group G to perfection, as they picked up their third victory in three games in the group on Wednesday, with a 75-69 success over Ukraine.

The Balkan side assumed the initiative right from tip-off and were already holding a double-digit advantage, 16-6, midway through the opening quarter.

They extended the gap to 28-14, their biggest led in the encounter just before the start of the second frame but Ukraine were playing their last card and had no intention of rolling over.

They hit three consecutive triples to cut the deficit to just two points, 32-30, with 6:01 left in the second frame.

Despite Serbia's attempts to pull away again, Klym Artamonov sunk another three-pointer right before the half-time buzzer to make sure Ukraine would only trail 43-40 at the interval.

Ukraine were rewarded for their persistence almost immediately after the two teams returned to the court from the locker rooms, as Danylo Zuikov, with one more big shot behind the arc, capped a 13-0 run to bring them ahead 53-43.

Sasa Avramovic did not like this and replied with two triples of his own to instigate a 12-0 Serbian run in return, that enabled the Serbians to take a 60-58 lead into the final stanza.

Both teams' field goal percentage suffered in the clutch but Ukraine were affected the most, especially from three-point range.

Artamonov drove to the Serbian basket to bring his team back within two points, 69-67, but Mladen Dordevic replied almost immediately to grant Serbia some breathing space, 71-67 with 1:59 left on the clock.

Both teams wasted two possessions apiece until Luka Mitrovic collected an offensive rebound and calmly made it 73-67 for Serbia with just 23 seconds left in the game.

Avramovic paved the way for Serbia with 19 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Pavle Reljic added 11 points, five boards and three assists; Artamonov and Vladyslav Koreniuk each had 16 points for Ukraine, the latter also picking up 16 rebounds to register a double-double in defeat.

Later on Wednesday, Israel trailed the Czech Republic for most of the game but came good in the clutch to edge out the Czechs 77-76.

Israel started off well and led 20-11 two minutes before the end of the opening quarter, but then scored just two points during the almost ten-minute stretch that followed.

Egor Koulechov (Israel)
Egor Koulechov and Israel secured Division A also for 2014.

The Czechs employed an effective zone defence and intensified their efforts to take a 49-39 lead midway through the third quarter.

Israel reacted with urgency when they realised that the Czechs had now reached within striking distance of their goal, a 13-point victory that would see them claim second place in the group, at the expense of the Israelis.

They clawed their way back and Or Solomon hit a jumper from the baseline to give them their first lead after the opening quarter, 60-58 with 4:27 on the clock.

The Czechs got some hope when Martin Kriz hit a big triple with 50 seconds left to reduce the gap to 72-69 and Israel turned the ball over.

Ondrej Siska split the Israeli defence beautifully and went to the rim but his lay-up was intercepted by a spectacular block from Shawn Dawson - the Czechs had to foul immediately and Israel made it again a two-possesion game from the foul line.

Tom Maayan led Israel with 16 points and five assists, Golan Gutt had 14 points and Dawson finished with 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks.

Kriz collected a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds and Samuel Faifr also scored 22 points for the Czech Republic.


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