Historic win for Portugal, hosts Montenegro hold off Turkey fighback
PODGORICA (Montenegro) - Just three teams remain unbeaten at the FIBA U20 European Championship after an eventful second day unfolded with France, Italy and Spain all collecting second wins.
There was history made by Portugal as Andre Cruz and Ruben Prey both delivered in the clutch moments to land their nation a first-ever win at the Division A level; beating 2019 champions Israel 90-86 in an overtime thriller.
The dynamic duo combined for 49 points with Cruz - who also collected 19 rebounds - forcing the extra period with a late three in regulation, while Prey hit the dagger in overtime to ice the memorable victory.
Montenegro ignited their campaign after surviving a comeback effort from Turkey to record a 77-70 triumph on home soil. They poured in 31 points in the second quarter to help establish a 15-point lead at the break before seeing their lead cut to a single point late in the third.
Fedor Zugic - who contributed 19 points - hit an important three early in the final quarter as the hosts managed to keep their opponents at bay in a low-scoring start to the fourth. Djordije Jovanovic played the starring role with 23 points and 13 rebounds in 38 minutes of action.
Meanwhile, Italy backed up their win from the opening day by beating Greece 89-78 having recovered from a 10-point deficit inside the first quarter to move to 2-0 in the standings. Alfredo Boglio played a major role in the win with 19 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals in 21 minutes of action to help Italy outscore their opponents 50-20 in bench points.
France laid down a marker by brushing aside Belgium 86-65 with a balanced attack, while Spain took control of Group C after coming out on top against Czech Republic in an 88-71 victory as six different players reached double figures including Juan Nunez with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
Elsewhere, Croatia bounced back from an opening loss with a 25-point, 15-rebound double-double from Tomislav Buljan paving the way for a hard-fought 77-74 triumph over Slovenia in the Group A contest.
There was also a first win for Ukraine as they used a strong start to the fourth quarter against Lithuania to secure a 71-69 success. Ukraine had trailed by four after three quarters, but soon appeared out of sight with a 67-55 advantage with 2:40 remaining before needing to see out the result from the foul line as their opponents made a late charge.
Germany prevented Poland from making it a 2-0 start as they pulled out a 76-69 victory to kickstart their own campaign with a 24-15 final quarter effort proving decisive. 10 different players were on the scoresheet with a best of 16 points coming from Evans Rapieque off the bench with Group D wide open with all four teams now at 1-1.
The Group Phase action in Podgorica concludes on Monday as the teams battle for seeding ahead of the Round of 16 stage that takes place two days later.