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Russia, Sweden show no mercy to start the FIBA U20 European Championship, Division B
MATOSINHOS (Portugal) - The hosts were off for the first day of competition in Portugal, but the fans in attendance still had a lot to witness on Friday, with Sweden and Russia taking the headlines.
Sweden defeated Armenia 149-26 in one of the biggest wins ever in youth competitions. All 11 players scored for coach Joakim Kallman, with Beni Fungula the only one not playing a minute for Sweden. Karl Lundqvist had the highest efficiency rating (30) thanks to his 17-point, 8-steal, 5-assist, 4-rebounds performance.
Sweden rising high over Armenia
Russia were also in dominant mood, blowing out Ireland 124-48. Similar to what Sweden had done, all players scored for Russia, with the difference being that coach Anton Yudin gave all 12 of their members playing time. Yury Umrikhin led all scorers with 21 points in 21 minutes of work.
Elsewhere, Bulgaria edged out Romania 67-58 in the neighborhood derby of the day, powered by Tsvetomir Chernokojev's 18 points and 9 rebounds. Vrenz Bleijenbergh has done a bit of everything for Belgium in their 95-56 triumph over North Macedonia, with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and a pair of blocks.
Top scorer of the day: Rati Andronikashvili had 26 points to help Georgia to an 85-73 win over the Netherlands. Andronikashvili shot 11-of-20 from the field, dished out 8 assists, but turned the ball over 12 times and connected on just one of seven tries from beyond the arc.
Andronikashvili escaping the double-team
Top rebounder of the day: Belarus edged out Iceland 79-74 in the closest game of the day, largely thanks to a monster double-double by Dzmitry Ryuny, who had 13 points and a day-high 16 rebounds, with 3 blocks and 3 steals also to his name.
Top passer of the day: It was clear it had to be someone from Sweden's 34-assist day, and it was Melwin Pantzar doing the distributing with 9 assists on a highly efficient day which also saw him score 13 points on 4-of-6 from the field.
Top thief of the day: Nobody was more tenacious on the defensive end of the floor than Lundqvist, who was already mentioned in the first part of this review.
Top blocker of the day: Honors going with Belarus' Ryuny, another name which was already mentioned here.