2007 Under-19 World Championships: Classification Round, Day Two
By Marian Reibert
Novi Sad, Serbia
FIBA World Championships Under 19: Classification Round, Day Two
Official U19 World Championships Site
Classification Round Day 2
[img_assist|nid=3754|title=Michael Beasley|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=366]Big day in Novi Sad as it was the second day of the classification round and there were some deciding games scheduled, either teams were facing near elimination while others were trying to solidify their positions as top favorites in this event.
Lithuania kept their hopes alive to sneak back into the fourth place of group E and with it a quarterfinal birth with a sound win over a young China team that was too inexperienced to cope with the Lithuanian talent and execution. Gecevicius finally got his stroke back going for a game high 17 pts. and Zygimantas Janavicius dissected China for 13.pts. 9 reb. and 6 assists. For China Postmen Su showed that he is a more than solid inside player and SF Yong showed some flair and emotion while displaying solid athleticism
Team Canada also kept their chances alive to get into the quarterfinal by beating out sharp shooting Korea behind outstanding performances by Williams 27 pts. 12 reb. and Joseph 16 pts. 7 reb. Williams was just too athletic for any Korean to deal with and when the three pointers finally stopped dropping for Korea it was all Canada.
Serbia 79 - France 62
Serbia took on favorite France and the Serbian coach refused to start PF Milan Macvan who had 36 the night before. Marko Keselj came into the game with a mission, to show that he can play with big star Nicolas Batum. It was Ajinca who stole the show in the beginning though, having a monster dunk off a Batum feed, some solid post moves and as usual his highlights on the defensive end with shot blocking or altering the Serbian centers. Miroslav Radujica twisted his ankle right in the first minutes and had to leave the game for good . 7'3" giant Marjanovic had to take over inside and had his moments 15 pts. 10 reb. while really taking it to Ajinca body wise and trying to flush everything he got. The game went back and forth but France managed to take one point lead into the half. Keselj finally showed here why he is a hyped talent, his smooth stroke (18 pts.) is a beauty and finally shots started falling. He really had Batum on his mind defensively all night which seemed to motivate him a lot. 18 minutes into the first half finally the Serbian Coach went to Macvan who made his presence felt right away and never left the game again, the wide body who is also a little undersized and only of average athletic ability showed his value and smarts. Fearlessly he converted underneath against whichever big guy was guarding him at the time and also drained two big three pointers. He really got the crowd into it with his all out play and hustle. Also in the second half sharp shooting Jeremic finally got the call from his coach and delivered. Considering that Jeremic 10 Pts. and Macvan 16 Pts. 6 reb. only played the second half one has to wonder what coach Nikolic was thinking. For France, Alexis Ajinca did all he could converting 7/8 inside for 14 pts. and 6 reb. but got no help from any of his teammates. Batum got haunted by Keselj all night and France couldn't find a way to get him involved, he had 9 reb. and 6 dishes but only 5 pts which is not enough for a player of his caliber. The bust of the game was Edwin Jackson who went for zero points on 0/5 shooting and 0/2 on free throws, with all the attention on Batum someone has to make the opponent pay and Jackson choked. Serbia built a ten point lead midway through the fourth and never looked back. Everyone expected Batum to somehow take over the game late but it didn't happen.
Turkey 59 - Spain 56
Spain got exposed by scrappy Turkey for three quarters. Turkey showed how it has to be done, clogging the middle to prevent the Spanish guards from easy finishes and controlling both boards. They also showed how you have to play to take Victor Claver out of his game, play him physically. Turkey had one man assigned to body Claver up on every occasion and it really took his toll. Forced to play 4-4 Spain had no one to take over the game and Turkey, led by speedy water bug Balbay 16 pts. 7 reb., built up the lead as Spain only had 15 points at halftime. After the third quarter Turkey was up by 16 points and in total control of the game. with Spain being dead in the water. But the inexperience of some of the Turkish players, they left Star player Bersek at home for disciplinary reasons, came into play and suddenly they froze in the view of a possible victory against a tourney favorite. Spain smelled blood and gave it one last shot cutting away point after point from the Turkish lead and suddenly their outside shot started falling and Claver rallied them with some hot shooting of his own and a spectacular baseline drive that he finished displaying outstanding body control. Down only 3 with 30 seconds to go Claver had two chances to tie the game on three pointers but missed both closely. Turkey escaped a six point last quarter to take down Spain from favorite status.
Australia 79 - Argentina 78
Australia and Argentina squared off and the Aussies established Andrew Ogilvy 18 pts. 12 reb. 5 blocks (also 10 turnovers) early and often which worked to their advantage, establishing a comfortable halftime lead which in the third quarter the built up to 20 points. Using superb execution and stinging defense Australia was in total control of the game when in the fourth quarter they suddenly they went ice-cold. Nothing seemed to drop for them and Argentina crawled back into the game with some pressure defense. With three minutes to go and Australia still up by ten suddenly Argentina started to launch three pointers which couldn't miss, further shrinking the lead. Australia could have iced it with free throws but even General Mills went cold from the stripe to leave the door open for one last prayer that would have sent the game into overtime. Star guard Diego Gerbaudo 10 pts. 6 ass. took it upon himself crossing the court 1-1 and draining a wild one that one ref ruled to be a three, another only a two as time expired. Heavy discussions broke loose but the refs huddled and after that ruled it only to be a two (which by the way is was without question) and the game was over with Australia getting their first real scare of this tournament.
USA 104 - Brazil 65
Team USA took on Brazil and it was a beauty in only one sense. Coach Wainwright decided to start Michael Beasley and let him deal with Paulao Prestes on a 1-1 basis and that was great for everyone that watched. Paulao 26 pts. and 13 boards using his brute mass to bang with athletic freak Beasley 16 pts. 9 reb. was a thing of beauty as they really took it at each other without any help defense or refs getting involved. This really is what gets Beasley motivated and he displayed what a beast he can be, in how easy he coped with the bigger and taller Paulao, using his enormous body strength. Sadly for Brazil no other player was able to cope with the US pressure and the game got out of hand for Brazil early, when eight US players scored in double figures en rout to a 104: 65 win with everyone, except for Greene, on the US Tem playing at least 12+ minutes but only two 20+. The player that really makes team USA gel is Curry, he is the one that gets the ball to the right people in the right situations and is a beauty to watch, he is not blessed with an NBA body but his shot is a thing of beauty and he is tough as they come. DeAndre Jordan was affected by Paulao's bulk which affected his productivity, only 11 pts. 6 reb. but since he couldn't overpower him it was good to see how he reacted to someone who could easily handle his athleticism and size. Most of his points came when Paulao was not on the court.
In the consolidation round, Puerto Rico playing without their star Guard Soto, managed to lose to lowly Mali and finishing winless and last here, after squandering a 14:2 lead. A disappointing performance for Puerto Rico with only Garcia 17 pts. 12 reb. shining a little and Coulibaly top scoring for Mali as usual with 28 pts.
Nigeria destroyed Lebanon in the 13th place game. Nigeria had too much athleticism for Lebanon to deal with. Alabi was a force inside with 11 pts. and 10 reb. but again showed how raw he still is. He showed big heart when he jumped out of bounds head first to save a ball with the game easy in hand for Nigeria crashing hardly into the surroundings and he flashed his Athleticism by a monster dunk and goal tending call in which he jumped up and just caught the ball with both hands well above the rim. He is smooth in running the floor. SG/SFs Negedu 27 pts. 10 reb. and Yusuf 11pts. 7 reb. were steady as always.