Long Balls Lift Latvia To Safety

18 August 2013


Latvia were full of joy after surviving in Division A
Latvia were full of joy after surviving in Division A

Latvia warmed-up from three-point range just in time to save their Division A status as they sent Belgium back to Division B at the U16 European Championship Men.

Latvia pulled away in the second half to send last year's Division B champions back to whence they came with a string of long balls from Dzeiks Krumins, Arturs Strautins and Renars Birkans, making the difference at the start of the fourth quarter.

The teams had been all tied up at 30-30 at half-time but three-pointers from Kristers Zoriks helped them get their noses in front in the third quarter.

They began the final stanza leading 52-48 but Krumins, Strautins and Birkans all hit from deep as they quickly made it 61-51, and Strautins padded that lead from the line.

Belgium were struggling with turnovers and after Tibo De Coessemaeker could only split a pair of free throws Krumins and Birkans handed out further punishment to put Latvia 15 points clear with 4:49 remaining.

That proved too much for Belgium as their spell in Division A came to an end.

Strautins led Latvia with 17 points and 11 rebounds while Birkans scored 15. Krumins added 11 and Zoriks 10.

Thomas Akyazili had 20 points for Belgium with Thibaut Vervoort and Mohamed Riahi adding 11 each.



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