by Dan Casey
|Radovan Kouril was the energizer for the Czech Republic as they took full advantage of home court|
Hosts Czech Republic began the tournament with a bang by defeating the strong Spanish team in Pardubice.
The Czech team was beset with illness problems in the run-up to the tournament, but an inspirational performace from captain Radovan Kouril (24 points and 7 assists) meant that Spain will be the team feeling sick this evening.
Martin Peterka's double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds was also crucial to the team's success.
Agusti Sans contributed 24 points for the Spanish team, while Ilimane Diop matched big man Peterka with a double-double too (14 points and 13 rebounds). But the Spanish weren't able to capitalise on their dominance on the boards.
The Czechs took a 47-39 lead to the locker room at half-time after a 7-0 run at the end of the first quarter helped to establish some space.
Spain came back strong in the third quarter, finishing the quarter with a 10-0 run to take a 60-58 lead.
The Czech team quickly answered at the start of the fourth quarter, Kouril contributing 7 points as they pushed ahead 67-63.
The Spanish team tried to come back again, but Jiri Dedek's lay-up with 21 seconds remaining gave the Czech team a three-point lead.
Spain worked an opportunity for Ferran Ventura to shoot a three-pointer, but his effort missed and Peterka grabbed the final rebound for a memorable win.