03 - 11
July 2021
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Serbia rally to defeat hosts Latvia, Turkey prevail in another thriller, Iran surprise Puerto Rico

RIGA / DAUGAVPILS (Latvia) -Serbia mounted a massive comeback to defeat hosts Latvia while Turkey won another thriller and Iran surprised Puerto Rico on the final day of Group Phase action at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2021 Group Phase action full of blowouts.

Serbia needed to rally from 17 points down in the third quarter while Turkey prevailed by four points over Mali two days after winning by two points and Iran surprised Puerto Rico. United States, for their part, picked up an impressive win over Australia and Canada shrugged off Senegal while the other three European teams - France, Spain and Lithuania - all rolled to easy wins.

 SRB Serbia 71-70 Latvia LAT

Summary: Serbia rallied from 17 points down early in the third quarter and pulled off a thrilling victory in the waning seconds against hosts Latvia for first place in Group B.

Game Heroes: Nikola Jovic scored 16 points while Stefan Todorovic buried his only basket with 9.4 seconds remaining as his three-pointer decided the game.

They Said: "We learned that we have to play as a team. We’re getting better as a team as the competition goes. We have to be tough mentally. If we are down by 10 or 15 points, we just have to play tough defense and play as a team on offense and luck will be on our side." - Serbian guard Stefan Todorovic

TUR Turkey 58-54 Mali MLI

Summary: Turkey survived an offensive struggle but prevailed in a close battle with Mali thanks to forcing 27 turnovers for a second win in Group D.

Game Heroes: David Mutaf scored 13 points to lead Turkey.

They Said: "After the first loss, we have shown really good character in the team. We are getting to know each other more and more. We fought until the end and we know how to win games at the end." -Turkey guard David Mutaf

IRI Iran 81-68 Puerto Rico PUR

Summary: Iran pulled off a surprise in Group B as they learned from their two losses and played a full 40 minutes to knock off Puerto Rico.

Game Heroes: Piter Girgoorian drained 5 three-pointers in scoring 24 points to go with 5 rebounds for the Asians.

They Said: "Coach always told me to keep shooting because I am the shooter. He told me to never stop shooting and in this game I found my confidence." -Iranian guard Piter Girgoorian 

USA USA 87-66 Australia AUS

Summary: Reigning champions United States turned up the pressure in the second half and pulled away for a comfortable win over Australia. The Americans took the third quarter 23-8 to win Group D with a perfect record.  

Game Heroes: Kenneth Lofton and Michael Miles both scored 16 points and three other American players tallied 10 points.

They Said: "We settled down and went into the locker room at halftime and talked about our mistakes and didn't make as many turnovers in the third quarter. We got better as the game went on and succeeded." -USA foward Kenneth Lofton

CAN Canada 85-56 Senegal SEN

Summary: Canada matched Senegal's athleticism with game intelligence and forced some poor shooting by the Africans in easing to a comfortable victory and a perfect record to top Group A.

Game Heroes: Zach Edey collected 18 points and 17 rebounds in winning the battle of the bigs with Senegal's Ibou Dianko Badji while Ryan Nembhard collected 18 points with 4 three-pointers, 4 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals.

They Said: "It was good. They are athletes and can jump high, and affected some of my shots. We played drop coverage and they didn’t shoot well and we just stuck to our game plan." -Canada center Zach Edey

 FRA France 89-52 Argentina ARG

Summary: France showcased their stifling defense and never gave Argentina a chance in picking up their second win in the Group Stage.

Game Heroes: All 12 French players scored with Lucas Ugolin leading the way with 13 points and 4 blocks while Victor Wembanyama collected 10 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks.

They Said: "Each game was a battle in the Group Phase. We really fought on the court. We learned that our opponents will not give us anything. We’re going to have to take everything from them.” -France power forward Victor Wembanyama

LTU Lithuania 95-63 Japan JPN

Summary:  After two games of blowing 14-point leads, Lithuania were able to coast to an easy win over Japan in Group A, pulling away in the first quarter and never looking back.

Game Heroes: Azoulas Tubelis paced four Lithuanians in double figures with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals.

They Said: "We got some experience from that - blowing the leads - and we just said to ourselves we need to play 100 percent for four quarters and that’s it.” -Lithuania guard Augustas Marciulionis

ESP Spain 99-48 Korea KOR

Summary: After two games decided by one point each, Spain took care of business with a blowout victory over Korea to take second place in Group A. The Iberians put the game out of reach in the second quarter.

Game Heroes: All 11 Spanish players who played scored, paced by Millan Jimenez' 20 points while Ruben Dominguez had 16 points.

They Said: "There are no easy games in this competition but this game was less physical and we had to play with the same focus.." -Spain guard Ruben Dominguez