Great Britain score last-gasp win over Sweden, complete Quarter-Final field
SARAJEVO (FIBA U16 European Championship 2018, Division B) – The Quarter-Final picture at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018, Division B is complete, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Great Britain, Romania and Russia claiming the last six places in the next round on Tuesday.
No team celebrated their qualification quite as much as the James Vear-coached Team GB, who survived a 79-77 nail-biter against Sweden to finish second in Group A with a 4-1 record.
A go-ahead basket with 21 seconds on the clock by Matthew Marsh and a Cameron Hildreth free-throw to clinch it all in the next possession allowed Great Britain to breathe a sigh of relief after coming close to leaving their ticket with the Swedes, who could have snuck into the Quarter-Finals after pulling off a 27-point comeback.
Great Britain held on to their Quarter-Final ticket despite wasting a huge advantage
Marsh was the team's leading scorer in the win with an 18-point and 14-rebound double-double, while Veron Eze collected 15 points. Meanwhile, Oliver Cupan of Sweden had a game-high 21 points and big man Kenny Pohto chipped in with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
There was far less drama in Romania's 83-71 victory over Luxembourg, that allowed the Stefan Grasu-led side to secure the top spot in the standings and a chance to continue their promotion campaign.
Elsewhere, Russia locked in a first-place finish in Group B with an 84-71 win against Belgium to finish the Group Phase with a perfect 5-0 record and MKD joined them through to the next round as the second seed after topping Norway 86-70 to take their marker to 4-1.
Russia are one of three teams to enter the Play-Offs with an unbeaten record
In Group D, Bosnia and Herzegovina also completed their Group Phase campaign without a single loss. The tournament hosts clinched their Quarter-Final berth and eliminated Ukraine with a close-fought 83-79 victory behind a 23-point effort from Alem Huseinovic.
Needing a win against Belarus to confirm their place among the top eight teams, Czech Republic got the job done, coming out on top in an 80-76 thriller to finish second in Group D behind Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ondrej Hanzlik had 26 points, 12 rebounds and 5 steals in the game for the Czechs, while Uladzislau Bantsevich collected 26 points for Belarus.
Poland and Iceland had already secured places in the Play-Offs a day in advance, but signed off from the Group Phase on high notes. Paced by Filip Siewruk, who had 21 points, the Poles took their record to 5-0 with a 77-71 win over Finland, while the second-placed Iceland topped Cyprus 88-78 in overtime to improve to 4-1.
Ukraine have a game in hand, but can no longer rise above third place
There was more action outside the Quarter-Final race on Tuesday, with Ireland defeating Portugal 64-60 in Group A, Denmark registering a 98-78 win over Slovakia in a Group B contest, Bulgaria topping Hungary 75-66 in Group C and Kosovo downing Switzerland 83-73 in Group D.
With all Quarter-Final openings gone, Ukraine and Kosovo are set to draw the curtain on the Group Phase on Wednesday with a game that was rescheduled from earlier in the week.
- Romania v MKD
- Bosnia and Herzegovina v Iceland
- Russia v Great Britain
- Poland v Czech Republic