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Poland stifle Slovenia to win it all, Latvia clinch Division A status
SOFIA (FIBA U20 European Championship, Division B) - Poland took gold in Bulgaria, defeating Slovenia in the Final, but it was Latvia who celebrated the most on Sunday.
The Final went the way of the Polish. It was a close one at the break, but Poland, led by MVP Lukasz Kolenda, held Slovenia to 28 points in the second half, storming away to a 71-60 win, giving them their second title at this level, following Pitesti, Romania in 2013.
Kolenda shot 5-of-8 from deep to collect 19 points, All-Star Five teammate Adrian Bogucki was a rebound short of a double-double with 12 points, while Daniel Golebiowski went through something similar - 9 points and 10 rebounds. Aljaz Bratec scored 20 for Slovenia, but struggled from the field with 6-of-15 shooting.
Slovenia will not regret losing this game, as their bigger goal of promotion to Division A was already realized. Latvia have achieved the same on the last day, winning the Third-Place Game against Russia 76-62.
All-Star Five member Arturs Strautins scored 24 points on an effective 10-of-15 shooting night, and added 10 rebounds for good measure. Four more Latvians were in double digits, including Roberts Blumbergs and his 13-points, 13-rebound double-double.
Alexander Khomenko finished with 13 for Russia, who had started the event with six-straight victories. However, but two straight defeats keeps them in Division B for at least another year.
Top scorer of the day: Jastin Armen Koyumjan signed off with 29 points on 7-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc to help Armenia get a 75-66 win over Moldova. Koyumjan made only one two-pointer, and was 6-of-6 from the line.
Top rebounder of the day: The final day was a crazy one in the rebounding department. Shant Serop Arslanian had 17 boards for Armenia; George Korsantia also grabbed 17 to go with his 27 points for Georgia against Estonia (88-64); Akbar Mammadov finished with 17 and 23 points for Azerbaijan versus Luxembourg (73-92); Milan Szabo also had 17 rebounds for Slovakia against Kosovo. But it was his teammate that led them all. Matej Drgon had 19 rebounds for Slovakia, helping them to an 82-73 win. He also had 16 points.
Matej Drgon was a beast down low on Sunday
Top passer of the day: Matej Majercak was on another level all tournament long. With another 12 assists to his name, the Slovakian altruist finished the Championship averaging just under 10 assists per game, almost double the amount of his closest follower.
Top thief of the day: Belarus defeated the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 83-73, and Maksim Karattsou stole the show with 5 steals on the night.
Top blocker of the day: Three was the magic number here. Iyengumwena Enaruna had 3 blocks for the Netherlands in a 78-48 win over Albania, Vadim Bicicov could not help Moldova with 3 of his own, Yordan Minchev added 3 blocks to a game-high 25 points he scored for Bulgaria against Belgium (64-52).