These days is played a U20 tournament with European top teams in the tiny Luxembourg. France, Lithuania, Russia, Turkey, Spain and a U23 selection of the host play against each until Sunday. After two days, here are my first thoughts on the games.
- In the first game of the tournament, Turkey lost against Lithuania where the three point shooting was going. Behind the 4/4 from Lukas Brazdauskis, the Liths beat the Turks 85-82 where Dogus Balbay showed that he is fully back after his injury year in the United States.
- Spain beat Russia in a poor game where the two main player for every team were not present. Neither Alexey Shved, nor Victor Claver traveled to this tournament and so it were the other guys that played the game. For Spain, let’s notice the correct performance of Pablo Aguilar while for the Russians, Artem Yakovenko did his job. Artem Zabelin however looked extremely soft and was more focused on discussing with the refs than playing basketball.
- France had no problem to beat a poor Luxembourg team. Kim Tillie played great after his season in Utah.
- Day 2 started with another defeat for the underperforming Russian team where Yakovenko was correct again. Dogus Balbay is playing a nearly perfect tournament so far for Turkey as he is currently having an incredible 16/18 2FG. He sees good support from Baris Hersek who hits his long distance shots.
- France made a defense show against Lithuania and totally destroyed the Baltic team 83-58. A great collective effort and extremely aggressive defense were the keys for the 2006 U18 champions generation where Kim Tillie showed once again his athletic game and good shooting touch.
- The game of the night was however at the surprise of everybody in the gym the matchup between Luxembourg and Spain. The huge favorites from Iberia were a bit surprised when the Luxembourgish team that played with 4 guards and 1 forward was only trailing by 5 at the half. The Spanish managed to make the game winning effort in the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half but Luxembourg fought back to lose only by 16 points. Spain did not really looked concerned about this game as they should. But Luxembourg also hit an incredible 16/27 from behind the arc.