Cyprus, Monaco set up Final date in repeat of 2019 title bout
BAKU (Azerbaijan) - Cyprus and Monaco advanced to the Final of the FIBA U18 European Championship 2023, Division C and set up a repeat of the 2019 title bout.
Two-time champions Cyprus used a late rally to knock off Luxembourg 70-63 and reach their fifth Final - looking to add to their Division C titles in 2001 and 2019 having also taken second place in 2017 and 2018.
Luxembourg were leading 61-58 midway through the fourth quarter but committed seven turnovers in the final five minutes as Cyprus finished the game on a 12-2 run.
With the game knotted at 63-63 with 18 seconds left, Luxembourg turned the ball over on an inbounds pass and Michail Christofides put Cyprus ahead, and that would prove decisive.
Christofides led the way in the win with 20 points off the bench and Georgios Armakolas added 15 points and 5 assists. Luxembourg, who got 16 points from Kevin Almeida Lopes, missed a chance to reach the Final for the first time and will be shooting for their fourth third place following 1999, 2001 and 2005.
Meanwhile, Monaco did not have any drama in the other Semi-Final as they rolled past Moldova 98-63 thanks to allowing just nine points in the second quarter and then scoring 33 points in the third stanza.
Eithan Zerbib came up with a big double-double of 23 points and 15 rebounds - 11 of those from the offensive glass - and Matteo Qittane scored 14 points to go with 5 rebounds and 6 assists.
Monaco advanced to the Final for the fourth time, winning it all in 2014 but losing both of the last title games in 2019 and 2022.
Moldova were paced by Lucian Lavric with 20 points but they were not enough and the nation will attempt to finish third for the third time following their efforts in 2007 and 2011.