|15 July 2011|
U20 European Championship
Ukraine celebrated their debut win in the U20 European Championship and did it in style with a 73-63 victory over Lithuania in Group D of the competition.
Lithuania and Ukraine now share the same 1-1 record and will wait for the last day of the Preliminary Round to learn about their future in the tournament.
A close first half was followed by a Ukrainian domination in the second, on the way to a pretty rare win against the Baltic side.
Big guy Artem Pustovyi stepped up with 22 points, 6 rebounds and no less than 7 blocks, Andriy Lebedintsev added 14 points and 7 assists while V'Yacheslav Bobrov double-doubled with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Mindaugas Kupsas dominated for Lithuania with 21 points and 8 rebounds, and was the only player in double-digits for his team.
"The main difference from yesterday's loss to today's big win is psychology," explained the winning coach Volodymyr Bryukhovestskyy.
"We came to the first game confident that we're going to win, while today we came more humble and ready to fight."
Lithuania felt the long arms of Pustovyi from the start and saw Ukraine take a 22-18 lead after 10 minutes, yet Gilvydas Biruta and Kupsas helped Lithuania hold a 38-40 gap at the break.
Bobrov stepped up in the second half with 9 points and 10 rebounds as Ukraine climbed to an eight-point lead and started a cat and mouse chase with Lithuania that kept reducing the gap but not enough to take the lead.
With less than two minutes to play Augustas Peciukevicius made it just a one point game, but a big jumper by Pustovyi kept Ukraine on top on the way to the win.
Tomorrow Lithuania will take on Germany while Ukraine go head-to-head with Italy in two crucial games in the group.