RIGA / DAUGAVPILS (Latvia) – Serbia made a comeback to defeat hosts Latvia, while Turkey won another thriller and Iran surprised Puerto Rico on the final day of the qualifying phase. 2021 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup group stage groups full of breakouts.
Serbia were expected to recover 17 points in the third quarter as Turkey edged out Mali by four two days after winning by two and Iran surprised Puerto Rico. The United States, for their part, had an impressive victory over Australia and Canada ignored Senegal while the other three European teams – France, Spain and Lithuania – all had easy wins.
Serbia 71-70 Latvia
summary: Serbia came back 17 points behind at the start of the third quarter and took a thrilling victory in the seconds against the Latvian hosts for first place in Group B.
Heroes of the game: Nikola Jovic scored 16 points while Stefan Todorovic buried his only basket with 9.4 seconds to go as his three points decided the game.
They said: “We have learned that we have to play as a team. We get better as a team as we compete. We have to be mentally strong. If we lose 10 or 15 points, we just have to play strong defense and play as a team on offense and luck will be on our side. ” Serbian goalkeeper Stefan Todorovic
Turkey 58-54 Mali
summary: Turkey survived an offensive struggle but came out on top in a close battle with Mali thanks to 27 forced turnovers for a second Group D victory.
Heroes of the game: David Mutaf scored 13 points to lead Turkey.
They said: “After the first loss, we showed a very 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
Iran 81-68 Puerto Rico
summary: Iran surprised Group B when they learned of their two losses and played a full 40 minutes to eliminate Puerto Rico.
Heroes of the game: Piter Girgoorian drained 5 three-pointers scoring 24 points to go with 5 rebounds for the Asians.
They said: “The coach always told me to keep shooting because I’m the shooter. He told me never to stop shooting and in this game I found my confidence.” -Iranian Guardian Piter Girgoorian
United States 87-66 Australia
summary: Defending champions USA stepped up the pressure in the second half and escaped for a comfortable victory over Australia. The Americans won the third quarter 23-8 to win Group D with a perfect record.
Heroes of the game: Kenneth Lofton and Michael Miles both scored 16 points and three other American players had 10 points.
They said: “We settled in and went into the locker room at half time and talked about our mistakes and didn’t do as many turnovers in the third quarter. We got better as the game progressed and we success.” – American striker Kenneth Lofton
Canada 85-56 Senegal
summary: Canada matched Senegal’s athleticism with game intelligence and forced some poor shots from the Africans to clinch a comfortable win and a perfect record to finish first in Group A.
Heroes of the game: Zach Edey had 18 points and 17 rebounds in winning the battle of the greats with Senegalese Ibou Dianko Badji while Ryan Nembhard had 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 it affected some of my shots. We played down coverage and they didn’t shoot well and we just stuck to our game plan. ” -Canadian Center Zach Edey
France 89-52 Argentina
summary: France showed their stifling defense and never gave Argentina a chance to claim their second group stage victory.
Heroes of the game: The 12 French players scored with Lucas Ugolin in the lead with 13 points and 4 blocks while Victor Wembanyama collected 10 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks.
They said: “Every game was a battle in the group stage. We really fought on the pitch. We learned that our opponents won’t give us anything. We’re going to have to take everything from them.” -French striker Victor Wembanyama
Lithuania 95-63 Japan
summary: After two games with a 14-point lead, Lithuania managed to win easily against Japan in Group A, moving away in the first quarter and never looking back.
Heroes of the game: Azoulas Tubelis led four Lithuanians in double digits with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals.
They said: “We got some experience from that – blowing up the tracks – and we just thought we had to play 100% for four quarters and that’s it.” – Lithuanian guard Augustas Marciulionis
Spain 99-48 Korea
summary: After two games decided at one point each, Spain went about business with a resounding victory over Korea to take second place in Group A. The Iberians put the game out of reach in the second quarter.
Heroes of the game: The 11 Spanish players who played scored, punctuated by the 20 points of Millan Jimenez 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 concentration ..” -Spanish goalkeeper Ruben Dominguez