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Russia, Belgium among opening-day victors in Sarajevo
SARAJEVO (FIBA U16 European Championship 2018, Division B) – After losing their spot in Division A last year, Russia got their redemption campaign at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018, Division B underway on the right foot on Thursday in Sarajevo.
The Ivan Kucherov-coached Russians opened the proceedings with a 75-69 victory over the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in Group B, Pavel Savkov leading the way with a 20-point and 11-rebound double-double, despite a 4-of-12 shooting night from three-point range.
Anton Kardanakhishvili was the second-leading scorer for Russia with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals, while Marko Milovanovikj collected 20 points and 10 boards on the opposite end of the court.
Belgium started the Group Phase with a convincing win over Denmark
In the other Group B contests, Belgium cruised to a 78-50 win over Denmark behind 24 points and 6 rebounds from Ajay Mitchell, while Slovakia inscribed a 72-58 victory over Norway, with Dominik Spano and Juraj Valentiny sharing a team-high mark of 15 points each.
The other teams to drop down from Division A last year, did not get the results they were looking for on the opening day of action, with Finland slumping to a 77-74 defeat to Iceland in Group C and Sweden ending up on the receiving end of a 70-37 blowout against Romania in Group A after losing the rebound battle 62-30 to their opponents.
Portugal were the biggest winners on Thursday's action in Group A after routing Luxembourg by 74 points with a 103-29 scoreline, as Hugo Miguel Silva registered game-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Great Britain rounded out the action in the group by scoring a 69-59 win over Ireland.
Portugal torched Luxembourg by 74 points
Meanwhile in Group C, Poland picked up a 54-49 win over Bulgaria with Kacper Klaczek collecting 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Cyprus nipped Hungary 63-58 thanks to a 23-point, 12-rebound double-double by Aineas Jung, who went 10-of-14 from the field en route to the game-high.
Elsewhere, Ukraine and Czech Republic locked up opening-day wins in Group D, with Oleksandr Kovliar leading the Ukrainian side to a 60-54 triumph over their neighbors Belarus and the Czechs downing Switzerland 84-69 behind a 17-point and 6-rebound effort from top scorer Lukas Hrebik.