|15 July 2011|
U20 European Championship
Italy created a 4-way tie in Group D of the U20 European Championship Men following a 75-62 win over Germany in Bilbao, Spain on Friday evening.
As a result of this win all four teams in the group are tied with a 1-1 record one day before the end line of the Preliminary Round.
Alessandro Gentile was the top scorer of Italy with 24 points and also topped his team's lists in rebounds with 7 and assists with 4. Riccardo Moraschini added 15 points and 6 rebounds.
Germany saw 15 points and 15 rebounds by Daniel Theis while Patrick Heckmann added 14 points.
Italy led from the start but got in trouble when Germany made a third quarter comeback and Nicolo Melli got in foul trouble, but found the way to bounce back for the key win.
With three minutes to play in the first quarter Germany was just a bucket behind, 14-12, but Gentile carried a 7-0 run and early in the second quarter it was already a double-digit lead, 26-16.
Heckmann and Theis collected points and cut the margin in half, but a great team effort by Italy, sharing points by several players, set the half time score on 40-31.
The gap reached 11 again when Theis and Heckmann, together with shooter Mathis Minninghoff produced 12 points in a row to take the lead, 48-49, while Melli, right in the next play, committed his 4th foul on an offensive play.
Nevertheless he stayed on the floor, and helped Italy to start their recovery journey.
"It was a team effort, and the fact we knew to bounce back from such an uneasy situation makes this win sweeter," concluded Gentile after the game.
The guard combined 5 quick points in a row and together with Moraschini pushed Italy to a 65-57 gap with 5 minutes to play.
Germany tried to fight back but Moraschini with key plays in the closing 2 minutes managed to keep the win in the Italian hands and complicate things in the group.
Tomorrow the two winners of Day 2 - Ukraine and Italy - will fight to keep the momentum up while the two Day 1 winners - Lithuania and Germany - will meet in the later game and fight to recover.