Georgia hold off Ukraine, Montenegro and Czech Republic through to Quarter-Finals
SKOPJE (2016 FIBA U18 European Championship Division B) - Georgia won a dramatic encounter in Group D to stay in front of Ukraine and Slovak Republic. Three more teams are also perfect.
Ukraine spilled a 13-point lead with seven minutes left in their game against Georgia. After Mykhailo Horobchenko had put Ukraine up 69-56, Georgia answered with 12 straight points to make it a one-point game with three minutes to go.
Illia Niemtsu scored the last Ukrainian basket of the game, giving them a 71-68 lead, but Luka Bulashvili brought Georgia back to 71-70 on the very next possession. Both teams had their chances to clinch the game, but it was Bulashvili who managed to get to the line with three seconds remaining in the game.
Bulashvili kept his calm, sank both free throws and gave Georgia a 72-71 win, to keep them in first place of Group D on a 4-0 record. Bulashvili scored 20 points and dished out five assists, both game-highs.
Georgia are still not in the clear, as they have to play Slovak Republic on the final game day. The Slovaks climbed up to a 3-1 record with a 93-45 win against Albania. Coach Richard Duris used each of his 11 players at disposal for at least 14 minutes, five of them ended up in double digits. In the third game of the group, England won the derby, defeating neighbours Scotland 95-51, but the Quarter-Finals are out of their reach.
In Group C, Czech Republic have clinched their Quarter-Final berth with a 73-33 win over Luxembourg. Estonia defeated Iceland 86-66 riding on Kristian Kullamae's 31 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists, but now they have to keep an eye out for Denmark.
Estonia are on a 3-1 record ahead of their game with Czech Republic, while Denmark are on 2-2 and hold the tie-breaker against Estonia in the fight for second spot. Denmark survived a late run by the Netherlands, beating them 59-53. In a potential three-way tie with Denmark and Iceland, Estonia could still finish first in Group C if they defeat the Czechs.
In Group B, Montenegro claimed first place and a spot in the Quarter-Finals with an 87-45 triumph against Austria. Belarus used Uladzislau Mikulski's 34 points on 16-of-20 shooting from the field to fend off Romania 77-69. Portugal defeated Belgium 56-53, and they are now tied with Belgium and Belarus at 2-2 in the fight for second place.
Portugal have the toughest task on the last day of group play, as they face still undefeated Montenegro. Belgium are up against Romania, while Belarus play Austria. Five teams could end up on a 2-3 record.
In Group A, Hungary stayed perfect with a 94-55 win over Ireland. Poland and Bulgaria are tied at 3-1 following their successes on Tuesday. Poland defeated The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 104-66, Bulgaria had no trouble with Cyprus in an 82-67 win.