Perfect Latvia Clinch Group F Top Spot

16 July 2013

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15. Ojars Silins (Latvia)
Ojars Silins went to work once more, finishing with his third double-double, 25 points and 10 rbeounds

Latvia did their homework early against Italy on Tuesday, picked up an 88-81 victory, their sixth in a row at the Spotland U20 European Championship, and will go up against the fourth-placed team in Group E in the quarter-finals.

Italy meanwhile are still in control of their own destiny and can also qualify to the quarter-finals if they defeat Russia on Wednesday, regardless results elsewhere in the group.

Both teams had to overcome injury woes on Tuesday: Latvia did not field Kaspars Vecvagars while Italy, in addition to the already side-lined Marco Laganà, also had to make do without Matteo Fallucca.

None of the three players is facing tournament-ending injuries and could make their reappearance on the court in Tallinn as soon as Friday.

Latvia were fresh right from tip-off and scored the first seven points in the encounter while Italy looked lethargic, perhaps due to their titanic effort against Spain the previous day.

The Azzurri trailed 23-16 at the end of the first quarter but finally started appearing lively when Eric Lombardi sunk a mid-range jumper that brought them within one point, 25-24, with 7:34 left to play in the second frame.

It didn't last long, as Edgars Stelmahers drilled a triple 2:40 from the half-time buzzer to give Latvia some breathing space, 37-30, and the Baltic team took a 42-32 lead into the interval.

Latvia maintained the gap more or less unchanged until Roberts Krumins hit a three-pointer with 33 seconds left in the third quarter to give them their biggest lead in the encounter, 70-51.

Italy made a last-ditch attempt in the final stanza to take something out of the game and scored 27 points in the period, but it was too little too late and they only managed to reduce the final gap to single digits.

Ojars Silins collected a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds for Latvia, adding four assists, while Ingus Jakovics finished with 17 points and six assists and Janis Berzins had 16 points and seven rebounds.

For Italy, Awudu Abass had 21 points and four rebounds and Matteo Imbró 18 points, six assists and four boards.


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