Czechs Retain Status, Ukraine Relegated

21 July 2013

U20 MEN

11. Martin Kríz (Czech Republic)
Martin Kríz led the Czechs to an improbable win over Ukraine, securing one more year in Division A

The Czech Republic will remain in Division A thanks to a come-from-behind 75-68 victory over Ukraine in the game for 17th place at the Sportland U20 European Championship on Sunday.

While the Czechs will enjoy a second consecutive year in the top-flight of the competition, Ukraine follow tournament hosts Estonia and Georgia into Division B.

The hosts had defeated Georgia 79-70 earlier on Sunday, behind 20 points from Martin Paasoja and a 16-point, 10-rebound effort from Rauno Nurger, to finish in 19th place and conclude the championship in Tallinn on a high note in front of their fans.

The vital battle on Sunday however was that for 17th place, who gave the winner the right to retain their Division A status next year.

Ukraine started with determination and took an early 15-5 lead to reach the half-time interval ahead, 33-29.

The Czechs fell behind by six points, 42-36, midway through the third quarter, before making another effort to claw their way back, this time in earnest.

Martin Kriz was the driving force behind the comeback, as he took over on the offensive end and poured in 10 points in the last 3:50 in the third period to bring the Czech Republic ahead, 49-45.

He found support from Samuel Faifr and Tomás Kyzlink in the final frame, both wingers shooting excellent from long range and the Czechs stayed in the lead until the final buzzer to claim the good-as-gold victory.

Kyzlink led all scorers with 21 points, adding six rebounds and three assists, while Kriz and Faifr both finished with 16 points, the former also collecting 10 rebounds to register a double-double and adding a team-high six assists.

Ukraine point guard Klym Artamonov poured in a game-high 25 points and dished out an amazing nine assists, and center Vladyslav Koreniuk picked up a double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds, their effort however was not enough to avoid relegation.


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