Kaspars Vecvagars had 25 points and 3 assists as Latvia edged out Russia in OT
Latvia led Russia for most of the game but needed overtime to bend Russia's resistance 89-85 in a highly entertaining Day 2 affair on Wednesday at the Sportland U20 European Championship, that could have gone either way.
While Latvia, who had prevailed 87-59 over Israel on the opening day, have now gone top of Group C with two victories in as many games, Russia suffered their second consecutive loss and are at the bottom of the standings.
Guard Kaspars Vecvagars poured in a game-high 25 points, seven of them in the extra period, to propel Latvia to the dramatic victory.
Ironically, he was also partially responsible for the game going into overtime, as he split two free throws with 27 seconds remaining in regulation and missed the opportunity to give his team a precious one-point lead.
With the scores tied at 75, Russia had the last possession and the chance to score the game-winner but Artem Komolov's three-point shot did not drop in.
Russia's Vladislav Trushkin scored the first basket in overtime but a purposeful Latvia replied with two triples and a lay-up on the fast-break within just 61 seconds, that gave them an 83-79 lead.
From that point onwards they crucially kept their calm from the free-throw line and secured the win as Russia wasted their last two possessions in the encounter.
In addition to the 25 points of Vecvagars the 19-point, six-rebound effort by Janis Berzins and the head-turning double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds by center Andrejs Grazulis were also vital to Latvia's success.
Trushkin finished with a team-high 21 points on 50% shooting from the floor and Aleksandr Gudumak picked up 10 points and 14 boards for Russia.