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Moldova tower over Malta; Ireland go 2-0 on Day 2
PRISTINA (FIBA U18 European Championship, Division C) – Day 2 in Kosovo saw Moldova open their account in winning fashion, whilst a big third quarter saw Ireland surge to 2-0.
There were only two games on Monday, as Moldova tipped off their campaign in the day's opening encounter. Relying on far superior height over their Maltese opponents, the Moldovans went to work in the paint, out-rebounding their opponents 70-41, on their way to the 89-78 win.
Even more telling was the 35 of those rebounds coming on the offensive boards, leading to 30 second-chance points – a telling stat in a game that Malta remarkably stayed in through the 40 minutes.
Leading Moldova's victory was Victor Legosin, with a 23-point, 12-rebound double-double, that also included 4 assists and 3 blocks.
In the day's second game, a rejuvenated Ireland came flying out of the blocks in the second half, taking the third quarter 33-17 on the way to a 96-64 win over Armenia. Similar to Moldova earlier in the day, it was inside the paint where Ireland punished their opponents – 20 of those 33 third-quarter points coming directly under the hoop as Ireland went on the fast-break.
Paul Kelly was the main protagonist for the Irish, finishing with 10 points, 12 assists and 6 steals.
Tuesday will be a four-game affair as hosts Kosovo return to the court to take on Cyprus – another undefeated side – whilst Gibraltar and San Marino will meet, with both seeking their opening win. In Group A, Monaco test Ireland's perfect record, Armenia search for their first against Moldova.