Elite eight: Great Britain with another upset, Lithuania send Serbia to the relegation zone
VOLOS (Greece) - And then, there were eight! Round of 16 of the FIBA U18 European Championship 2019 provided plenty of drama, and a pair of four-seeds taking down one-seeds. The stage is set for the Quarter-Finals in Nea Ionia Hall.
Greece trailed by 13 points against Finland in front of a sell-out crowd, but a 29-4 last quarter happened in which the hosts made four three-pointers - two more than in the previous three periods - which sent the crowd into a delirium. Greece won 68-55, Alexandros Nikolaidis and Nikolaos Rogkavopoulos combining for 36 points on the night.
R-O-G-K-A-V-O-P-O-U-L-O-S 🔥🔥🔥. #FIBAU18Europe@HellenicBF 🇬🇷— FIBA (@FIBA) July 31, 2019
📝 https://t.co/SI0sruUkmJ pic.twitter.com/v42o13cW6X
Greece will face Lithuania for a place in the Semi-Finals. The Baltic giants almost blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter after Aleksej Pokusevski knocked down a pair of triples in a matter of seconds entering the final minute of the game. But Lithuania protected a two-point lead, Serbia turned the ball over on their final possession, as the game ended 56-54, meaning Serbia are again facing relegation after dropping to Division B at the FIBA U20 European Championship 2019 in Tel Aviv.
Same side of the draw will see a perfect Spanish side taking on the high-flying Russian squad. Spain blew out Latvia 87-52, as Santi Aldama set his new personal career-high for FIBA events with 19 points - all coming in the first half.
Aldama with the assist for the Aldama dunk wait what 🤔? #FIBAU18Europe@baloncestoESP 🇪🇸 @santialdama— FIBA (@FIBA) July 31, 2019
📝 https://t.co/SI0sruUkmJ pic.twitter.com/T1YvD2kqWb
Russia and Germany were engaged in a back-and-forth battle, but in the end Russia sailed away with a 76-65 win with 30 points between Filipp Gafurov and Samson Ruzhentsev. Turkey bounced back from a slow start against Italy to take a 67-55 win, but they know that they will have to be at the top of their game from the tip-off against France.
France defeated Croatia 62-53, even though the red-and-white nation had a three point lead heading into the final quarter.
The execution for the backdoor oop from @kzs_si 🇸🇮 is just too good ✅. #FIBAU18Europe— FIBA (@FIBA) July 31, 2019
📝 https://t.co/SI0sruUkmJ pic.twitter.com/JiUsMSiuL5
The last part of the bracket opens up a lot of possibilities for an unlikely podium finish.
That is because Slovenia held on for a 79-72 win over the Netherlands, and Great Britain continued their fine summer with another upset, taking down Group B winners Montenegro 77-62. Great Britain have never been on the podium at this level, Slovenia have done it only once, back in 2002, when they lost the Final to Croatia.
Quarter-Finals pairings, all games to be played on Thursday:
- Russia v Spain
- Turkey v France
- Great Britain v Slovenia
- Lithuania v Greece