|Kristers Zoriks played the perfect support act to Rodions Kurucs, scoring 19 points|
Latvia ended on the right end of a 74-67 scoreline after the lead changed hands 18 times in a pulsating opening game against Greece at the U16 European Championship in Ogre on Wednesday.
Turning Point: Georgios Tarlas' fast-break lay-up had gone a long way to puncturing the excited atmosphere inside the final minute as he gave Greece a late lead before Kristers Zoriks' three-pointer put Latvia back up 69-67 and back in position from which they would see out the closing stages.
Game Hero: As expected, Rodions Kurucs was pivotal. He scored 22 points as well as reeling in eight rebounds but perhaps his biggest influence on the game was in drawing 11 fouls from his opponents. He attempted 16 free throws, making 13 of them, and putting Greece under real pressure to avoid fouling.
Stats Don't Lie: Greece got 36 of their points from the paint, a characteristic of their play which helped lift their field goal percentage to 43% compared to Latvia's 36%. This could have been decisive but for Latvia making 32 trips to the free-throw line, compared to Greece's eight.
The Bottom Line: There were clearly some nerves from the young Latvians in this opener, playing in front of an expectant crowd and national television cameras. But with this first one out of the way, and a win, they will no doubt go onwards and upwards. Greece showed the fight that you always expect from them and will be pleased with aspects of their play, if not the result.