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Mykhailiuk, Ukraine shoot down Spain's perfect record in Kiev
KIEV (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers) - Another perfect record came crashing down at the start of the Second Round in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers, as Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Oleksii Len paced Ukraine to a sensational 76-65 victory against the previously undefeated Spain in front of an enthusiastic sellout crowd at Kiev's Palace of Sports.
Five long-range buckets put the 21-year-old Mykhailiuk at the top of the scorer list with 22 points and 5 steals, while fellow NBA player Len had a 8-point and 5-rebound contribution in his debut for the senior national team. Quino Colom and Sergio Rodriguez scored 15 and 12 points, respectively, in a losing effort for the visitors.
.@UkrBasket 🇺🇦 upset @baloncestofeb 🇪🇸 at home and hand them their 1st L in the #FIBAWC Qualifiers. #ThisIsMyHouse— Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) September 14, 2018
📝 https://t.co/pBU9D7sTCs pic.twitter.com/bsz1BowBkR
Ukraine gave their China 2019 campaign a big boost by improving to a 4-3 record in Group I. Despite dropping to a 6-1 mark, the Spanish will remain at the top of the table for the time being.
Turning point: After falling behind by double figures in the first half, Spain managed to get themselves back in the game thanks to the Colom-Rodriguez backcourt partnership. Ukraine regained firm control of the game and restored a double-digit advantage at 71-61 following a 13-6 run in the fourth quarter.
Game hero: Everybody at the Palace of Sports in Kiev got the 'Svi' fever, as Mykhailiuk returned to the national team with a bang. Having last represented Ukraine at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014, the Los Angeles Lakers swingman went 7-of-13 from the field for a game-high 22 points.
Stats don't lie: The powerful Ukrainian frontcourt of Oleksii Len, Viacheslav Kravtsov, V'Yacheslav Bobrov and others bossed their Spanish opponents around in the paint, outscoring the guests 40-26 from close range. Ukraine also had a 41-34 advantage in the rebounding department.
"EL Chacho" with the set up @eliimane with the finish 🔥! #FIBAWC #ThisIsMyHouse@SergioRodriguez @baloncestofeb 🇪🇸— Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) September 14, 2018
📝 https://t.co/pBU9D7bidS pic.twitter.com/eFGp9Bq63w
Bottom line: Heading into the game in Ukraine, Spain had won four of their six games by double figures. The closest they had come to defeat was a nail-biting 84-82 escape against Belarus in Minsk.
They said: "We knew the game would be pretty hard and our situation in the group is pretty bad so there was no way to give up. So we tried to fight no matter who was going to face us. Of course everybody know Spain are one of the top teams in Europe, probably in the world. It was good experience and good motivation to play against them. We showed character from the first minute until the end." - Ukraine center Viacheslav Kravtsov
"It's a good win for us. I want to say thanks to everybody who support the team and came to the game because that's very important for us. Today we showed good defense. I think it's the first good game we win with defense. Holding them to 65 points is a very good result for us. If you remember our last game, we gave up 93 points at home (93-71 loss to Latvia on July 1). It was too much for us. Today was good game first of all on defense. And then we had 23 assists against 10 for Spain. For me it's a good results. We had good preparations for the game. It was all about the team." - Ukraine head coach Yevhen Murzin
"They played really physical, they have the crowd on their side and they take this energy all game. You have to congratulate them because they played really strong. They used their weapons really well. We have to improve our reading of their game. And when we read well, we missed open shots. So it all went to our head. We have to prepare for the next game." - Spain point guard Quino Colom
"Congratulations to Ukrainian team, their coach and player. They had an excellent game. Our players tried hard. I think there was a big big difference from the beginning in physicality between the two rosters. They were much more physical, much bigger than us in any position maybe except point guard and that at the end of the day made a difference." - Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo