|14 July 2011|
U20 European Championship
A big thriller locked Day 1 of the U20 European Championship after Latvia edged Sweden 59-57 on Thursday evening, thanks to a tip-in by Martins Mejeris at the final buzzer.
A close game for 40 minutes saw the lead changing hands several times, and a very nervous 4th quarter, in which Sweden used a long scoreless stretch by Latvia to enter the last 3:30 minutes with a six-point lead, and then go scoreless themselves until the buzzer and drop the gap for a Latvian win.
Janis Antrops scored 13 for Latvia, Mejeris had 12 while Davis Lejasmeiers collected 10.
Viktor Gaddefors had 14 points and 7 rebounds for Sweden, Alexander Lindqvist added 11 while Daniel Persson finished with 7 points and 10 rebounds.
Latvia used a late first quarter run to hold a 25-17 lead after 10 minutes, and with the first bucket of the 2nd quarter wrote a double-digit lead early in the game.
Sweden used points by Persson and Charles Barton to move closer, but Antrops connected points and made it 34-25 after 16:28 minutes, yet Sweden had answers ready.
Gaddefors combined 4 points in a row and soon it was just a 2 point game, but Latvia had the last say and finished the half with a 39-35 lead.
Another jumper by Gaddefors tied the score at 43-43 yet Sweden was unable to take the lead, and saw Latvia jump back up until 5 points produced by Barton with a jumper and an assist set the 3rd quarter score on 48-48.
Sweden with the first basket of the closing quarter capped 7 unanswered points and finally took the lead, but Armands Osins scored from the arc just before the two sides entered a 4:30 scoring drought.
The first to wake up were Sweden that made yet another 0-7 run and held a 51-57 lead with 3:41 to play, but from that point on didn't score again.
Edmunds Dukulis followed while 4 points by Davis Lajesmeiers tied the score with 36 seconds to play.
Person had the chance to give Sweden the key lead but missed and Mejeris didn't need a second chance to win right before the buzzer.
Tomorrow Latvia will match with Croatia while Sweden and France will go head to head.