5th-8th Place Roundup
by Dan Casey
|Ivars Zvigurs and Latvia rebounded from their Quarter-Final loss to beat Germany|
Latvia and Russia will compete for 5th place in Pardubice on Sunday after good wins for both teams in the Classification Games.
Russia clinched victory over Turkey thanks to Vasily Martynov's jump-shot with 32 seconds remaining, and Alexander Martynov's free-throw. Kartal Özmizrak missed a potential game-winner for Turkey at the buzzer as Russia came away with a 73-71 win.
Pavel Sizov was the star performer for Russia, with 31 points including 4-5 shooting from three-point range. Sizov added 9 rebounds, and Vasily Martynov had 15 points and 3 steals in the win. Metecan Birsen led Turkey with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
Turkey had a large rebounding advantage over the Russian team, but had too many turnovers and couldn't contain the Russian offense as Russia shot 48% from the field.
Turkey led 45-41 at half-time, by which time Sizov had already scored 25 of his points. In a tighter second half, Vasily Martynov's free-throws cut the lead to one point, with the score 57-56 at the end of the third period.
Turkey forged ahead in the final period behind consectuive three-pointers from Adnan Mustafa. But Russia kept fighting and Nikita Tiptsov's driving lay-up put Russia ahead 70-69 with 1:53 remaining.
Birsen grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to give Turkey the lead again, before the Martynovs' late scores confirmed the Russian victory.
Latvia used tight defense to hold Germany to 19 second-half points and pull away for a 66-52 win. Davis Geks led Latvia in the win with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals.
Ismet Akpinar's three-pointer gave Germany the first-quarter advantage, but a Geks buzzer-beater gave Latvia a 34-33 half-time lead.
In the second half, Germany were held scoreless for 3:53 before Dino Dizdarevic hit a three-pointer. Geks immediately responded though, and another buzzer-beater, this time a three-point play from Kristaps Plavnieks, put Latvia 51-44 at the end of the third quarter.
Rinalds Malmanis and Geks hit consecutive three-pointers to push the lead up to 13 in the final period, and Germany couldn't come back. Geks was supported by Rolands Smits (13 points, 7 rebounds), while Ismet Akpinar top-scored for Germany with 11 points and Niklas Ney added 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Despite the loss, Germany can still achieve their best ranking in 20 years with victory over Turkey on Sunday. Latvia will be aiming to repeat their best-ever finish, 5th in 1999.