|14 July 2014|
|Zoltan Perl was Hungary's hero on Monday, sinking the game-winning three|
Zoltan Perl sunk a huge triple with one tenth of the second on the clock to gift Hungary a 59-58 triumph over Russia in Group H Day 1 action, in one of the most entertaining games of the U20 European Championship so far.
Turning Point: Russia, who had managed to come back from ten points down with an excellent second-half defensive display, appeared to finally have this in the bag whenK Mikhail ulagin gave them a 58-54 lead from the foul line, with four seconds left to play. Kulagin however was called almost immediately for an unsportsmanlike foul on Benedek Varadi, who made both his free throws to reduce to 58-56. Hungary still had possession of the ball and Daniel Sinkovits in-bounded the ball with a cross-court pass straight into the hands of Perl, who barely had time to aim and release the game-winning three-pointer.
Game Hero: Perl could have chosen to receive the ball inside the three-point arc and try to tie the game, but instead he made the risky choice and showed composure and conviction as he raised for the golden shot. The Hungarian, who was only 3-for-14 from the floor before hitting the game winner, finished with 11 points.
Stats Don't Lie: Hungary sunk 22 of their 24 free throws, the highest percentage among any team that has taken over 20 shots from the charity stripe in this tournament. In a low-scoring game that went down to the wire, each one of these 22 free throws, including of course the two last ones by Varadi, were worth their weight in gold.
The Bottom Line: Hungary join Germany at the top of Classification Games for 13th to 20th Place Group H, while Russia and the Czech Republic will have to look for their first win on Tuesday.