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NIJT Finals 2013: Day 3 (LIVE from London)

May 12th, 2013 · 1 Comment

The third day of the Nike International Junior Tournament is in the books and it was quite an interesting day that ended with a semi-surprise and an expected final between Joventut Badalona and FC Barcelona.

Badalona needed a win over China to qualify for the big game on Sunday but the Catalans had some trouble to get ahead in this game. China resisted well in the first quarter but foul trouble of their main drivers put them in a difficult situation. Agusti Sans on the other hand was dominating the game on both sides of the court. The left handed guard finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks which made him the best player of the day. Jose Nogues also had a good game despite starting on the SF spot where he struggled against the Chinese defense. Nogues finished with 21 points.

In a game that we barely followed, Crvena Zvezda easily won against Lietuvos Rytas and used the difference to give minutes to their bench. Nikola Rebic did not even play but it were the usual suspects finishing well with Dusan Ristic, Brano Djukanovic and Marko Guduric. On the Lithuanian side, noboody even managed to score in double figures so that they travel back home without a victory.

There were some expectations for the game between Barcelona and INSEP as the French could still qualify for the Final while Barcelona absolutely needed to win to advance. However, and despite the absence of Mario Hezonja, there was not really a contest here. The Barcelona offense and defense looked so well-oiled that INSEP simply had no chance to win this game. Marc Garcia was once again one of the main players for Barcelona as he scored 21 points. On the other hand INSEP could not stop Milovan Draskovic and his size as the Montenegrin inside player had 19 points and 13 rebounds. Damien Inglis showed a bit of his talent by finishing with 15 points and 9 rebounds but he could never only touch to his stellar performances from Belgrade. Yven Smock scored 14 points as well for France.

The last game of the day gave Team England a good win over Spars Sarajevo behind a superb second half where they totally dominated the winners of the NIJT Qualification Event in Rome. Djoko Salic struggled mightily in the second half to put the ball in the basket and turned it over 8 times while Aleksej Nikolic could connnect to a few baskets to keep the honor safe. England on the other hand showed a superb team effort with Luke Nelson once again running the show scoring nice baskets and finding his team mates well. Additionally, the English big guys played nice inside defense with Bigby Kavell doing an excellent job to use the open positions he had to score the ball. England had a great 20-5 last quarter to get their deserved victory.

After the tournament games, the English boys were not done yet as they were the team that was used for the two coaching clinics organised by the Euroleague. First, Donnie Nelson of the Dallas Mavericks gave some basic instructions of hoow to construct a fast break and an early offense. After him, Simone Pianigiani showed how offense has to move depending on the defense choice in a ball screen situation. Both clinic were quite interesting in their own way and the organisation of such a clinic during a Final Four seems a good idea to me even if it was probably not the most atteneded event of the weekend.

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