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U19 World Championship 2013: 5-10 place

July 6th, 2013 · No Comments

After an interesting opening of the tournament with the Quarter-Finals, the schedule had the semi-finals programmed today. However, as usual, the day started slowly with the classification games.

Brazil – Russia 53-60

Both teams might have had the potential to reach the quarter finals but finally had to play the Classification round. In a quite entertaining game, the first half was balanced without anyone standing out individually. The second half remained balanced but it was Russia that won the game in the final minutes as they were able to make less mistakes in the decisive moments.

Spain – Croatia 75-64

Croatia started the game well as they finally played together as a real team. Mislav Brzoja and Dario Saric score some tough baskets but Spain remained in the game because of the offensive rebounding of Sebastian Saiz. In the second quarter, both teams remained close to each other but the offensive production of Croatia changed as only Saric and Brzoja scored on a regular basis. For Spain, Dario Brizuela showed his speed and Guillermo Hernangomez his physical power in the paint. Oriol Pauli had some good sequences too even without scoring a point and we went to halftime at the score of 38-36 in favor of Spain.

The Iberics started well into the third quarter with Saiz and Edgar Vicedo going hard while Croatia continued to struggle on the offensive end. On the other hand, Spain showed how a team should play finding multiple scorers from any position. A late three pointer by Brzoja reduced the gap but Spain stayed ahead by 9 points before the last quarter. The final quarter did not change anything on the outcome of the game as Spain controlled the tempo. A late spurt by Tomislav Gabric was not enough for Croatia to come back so that Spain will play for the fifth place on Sunday.

China – Canada 100-110

The teams started the game in the same way as they struggled to score in the first minutes. China was driven by their shooter Shuai Yuan and the inside presence of Shang Gao while the Canadians were relying on the speed of Tyler Ennis. Zhou Qi started again for the Chinese but he clearly looked not in shape. Kaza Keane initiated  a small run for Canada just before the first break so that the North Americans were up by 3.

China started with one of the Yuan trademark corner threes against the Canadian zone so that coach Roy Rana switched back to man-to-man defense. Gao insisted inside the paint but Canada found their luck in the long distance shooting of Marko Pirovic. The last minutes were then again quite poor in scoring so that the score was 32 apiece at halftime.

The game remained a low scoring contest in the beginning of the third quarter where the 16 year old Christopher Egi showed glimpses of his potential on the Canadian side. But Yuan also confirmed his status as one of the best pure shooters of the event nailing another one from the corner. China went ahead as Zhou Qi finally scored some baskets but Canada made a run on their side with Egi using his length in the paint and Ennis scoring from behind the arc. But China controlled the small difference that they could create at that moment as Yuan was once again present from the three point line.

Canada reduced the gap early in the final period with Ennis scoring at the rim and Xavier Rathan-Mayes waking up. Zhou though was now really present as he scored several baskets for his team. But Ennis added another one on the fastbreak to take the lead and force a Chinese timeout. The Asiatic team insisted on Zhou in the paint but he missed a couple from close that initiated Canadian fast breaks helping them to increase their lead. Ennis emerged as a real leader at that moment as he scored nearly all of their baskets. Canada did a good job now to defend Yuan but Zhou Qi protected his rim effectively and even found Ji Wei Zhao on several occasions to get back in front. China was up 1 with 30 seconds on the clock but they fouled and put Ennis on the line who scored only one. Zhou Qi tried to beat his man on the dribble but Egi came out of nowhere to reject his layup attempt. Ennis grabbed the rebound and scored it on the fastbreak to give Canada a 2 point lead with 2.4 seconds remaining. On the inbound play, China found Zhou on the backdoor alleyoop to tie the score again with 1.8 seconds. Canada found a good shot but missed it so that we went to overtime.

China missed several free-throws to start the extra time so that they could not create a potential lead while Ennis added one on his side. Canada stayed ahead because of second chances when Ennis scored  tough lay up over Zhou to give his team a 2 point advantage with 45 seconds left on the clock. But it was Yuan who scored a tough runner to tie the game again and send it to second overtime.

Similar scenario again with a quiet start but Ennis opened with another drive that was however answered by a triple from Yi Feng Heng. Ennis scored the floater to give Canada again a two point lead with 80 seconds remaining. Nathan-Mayes knocked down the long two and blocked a shot attempt of Yuan to give Canada a two point lead again. Ennis added one more from the free-throw line but Shang Gao scored the three pointer out of the dribble to tie the game again with 0.2 seconds left.

Ennis was again there to score with a nice floater but Zhou answered with a tough face-up jump shot from deep to keep China at –2 after the opening basket of Denzell Taylor. Pirovic could have found the dagger with a nice three-pointer with 2 minutes on the clock to give Canada a five point lead. Zhou scored from the line by Nathan-Mayes added another shot from the corner to give Canada a six point lead that qualified them for the Game for the 5th Place on Sunday.

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