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MKD down Iceland with Stojanovski's game-winner; Isbetcherian and Drell impress in Group B
SKOPJE (FIBA U18 European Championship 2018, Division B) – A total of 24 teams began their quest for promotion at the FIBA U18 European Championship 2018, Division B on Friday, with half of them taking already one step closer to achieving that goal after the opening-day of action.
Luka Stojanovski saved the day for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, giving the tournament hosts a 62-60 victory over Iceland in Group C with a game-winning basket with just four seconds on the clock.
He was one of three MKD players to share a team-high mark of 12 points, while Sigvaldi Eggertson and Dui Jonsson collected 18 and 15 points for the Icelanders, respectively.
With the score tied at 60-all, Luka Stojanovski took over and made the game-winning play
Yam Madar shone for the Natan Cohen-coached Israel with a game-high 20 points, while FIBA U20 European Championship 2018 champion and All-Star Five member Deni Avdija chipped in with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals.
Austria also began the tournament on a high note, with Paul Isbetcherian exploding for 33 points in a low-scoring 63-61 win against neighbors Hungary in Group B. The 18-year-old guard went 8-of-16 from the field and converted 14-of-15 free-throw attempts, adding 8 rebounds and 3 steals on the first day of the tourney.
Austrian playmaker Paul Isbetcherian dropped 33 points on Hungary
In the same group, Estonian rising star Henri Drell also went off for 33 points in an 87-72 win over Georgia, while Venz Bleijenberg had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists to guide Belgium to a 108-46 win over Azerbaijan.
Slovenia began Group D action with a 79-35 statement win over Albania, as Gregor Glas and Petar Vujacic combined for 34 points. Elsewhere, the group's Scandinavian teams got the show on the road with eight-point wins: Denmark topped Bulgaria 77-69, while Sweden took down Slovakia with an 81-73 scoreline.
Meanwhile, Belarus headlined the Group A winners on Thursday with an 89-63 win over Switzerland, with Portugal topping Poland 76-62 and the Mihai Maciuca-led Romania holding off Norway 76-71 to begin their campaigns with a smile.