The three Group B teams made their presence felt big time as stage two of Eurobasket 2013 got under way on Wednesday.
The first day of stage two began with a bang. Latvia decided to leave nothing in doubt against Ukraine. This was nothing short of total dominance and a 15/29 display from beyond the arc helped them to an 85-51 win. The victory immediately moves the underdogs into contention for the quarter-finals, with a 1-2 record and two games to go. Given this site was one of many that picked Ukraine for the upset, it’s only fair to pay tribute to Latvia in video form.
Serbia were once again made to work for their win against lesser fancied opposition. Belgium, playing in the second round for the first time since 1977, raced out to an 8-0 lead and Dusan Ivkovic was forced to call time-out early. After taking charge towards the end of the first frame, it looked like Serbia would take care of business without difficulty from there on out. Credit to the Lions however for hanging in there and keeping this game competitive until well inside the fourth quarter. A 76-69 win was hard-earned but Duda’s men but more importantly, they now hold a 3-0 record.
Last but by no means least. Lithuania didn’t allow a French comeback in the second quarter to rattle them. Tony Parker and co. were trailing by 11 at one point as their offence failed to catch fire in the first half. The Spurs point guard led a resurgence to cut the gap to 32-27 at the break. Any fears that Lithuania would wilt in the second half were swept aside emphatically. The really impressive aspect was the clinical manner with which they closed out the win in the final five minutes. A 76-62 win left no-one in doubt that this team can contend with the best. Group F gets under way on Thursday.