Italy Clinch Qualifying Round Spot

16 July 2011

U20 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Italy can mark the first "V" in the U20 European Championship after taking a 70-54 victory over Ukraine that is worth one of the Qualifying Round tickets from Group D in Bilbao, Spain.

With this win Italy jump to a 2-1 record while Ukraine fell to 1-2, but can still escape from the 13-16 Classification Round.

A win of Germany over Lithuania later on today will keep Ukraine in the race and send Lithuania to unfamiliar land, but in case of a German loss it'll be the Ukrainians that will have to fight against relegation.

Italy led from the start but used a 3rd quarter run, in which Ukraine totalled only 7 points, to secure the win.

Achille Polonara led Italy with 15 points while Nicolo Melli added 12 and Andrea De Nicolao added 10.

Ukraine saw Andriy Lebedintsev in another productive game with 14 points yet he was the only player in double-digits for the losing side that score reached team totals of 31.3% inside the arc and 33.3% beyond it.

It was a 9-0 run by Italy to put them on top and created a 16-11 gap late in the first quarter capped by an alley-hoop play dunked by Polonara.

Melli combined points and Alessandro Gentile scored from the arc to set the half time score on 33-23 in favor of their side, but Italy wasn't done yet.

After 12 unanswered points midway in the 3rd quarter the gap increased to 22, 48-26, and it was more than enough to decide the game way before the final buzzer.


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