As is typical of this tournament, day two proved a make-or-break for many teams, thanks to a couple surprising results: Team China (now armed with its full roster after playing against Crvena Zvezda/Red Star Belgrade with just seven in game one) eliminated NIJT defending champs Lietuvos Rytas while Joventut Badalona controlled Red Star to put themselves in the driver’s seat of group A. OKK Spars Sarajevo lost to FC Barcelona to put the Blaugrana free and clear in no. 1 position; the point differential between the two clubs is identical and thus a Barca loss plus a win is required to put the tourney’s newbies into the final game on Sunday…
Team China (1-1) surprised Lietuvos Rytas (0-2) 66-57 on the second day of the Euroleague’s Nike International Junior Tournament (NIJT) in London. 6’1” Yufeng Xu (1996) led Team China with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting and also grabbed 10 rebounds. 6’2” Deividas Kumelis (1995) led Rytas with 17 points and hit two three-pointers. It was a poor shooting game with China shooting 1-of-14 on three-pointers and Rytas only connected on 2-of-18 from deep. Rytas only shot 34.9% on the game and couldn’t take advantage of a 53-40 rebounding edge. Team China used a 17-7 second quarter advantage to take control of the game at the half (33-22).
Joventut Badalona (2-0) beat their top rival in their group, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade (1-1) to get the inside track to the championship game on Sunday. 6’1” Xavier Assalit (1995) led the winners with 17 points, shooting 13-of-15 from the foul line. 6’5” Alberto Abalde (1995) had another solid game scoring 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting while 6’8” Jose Nogues (1995) chipped in with 15. Nikola Rebic impressed again for Crvena with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, connected on three three-pointers and dished out five assists.
Joventut did a great defensive job on 6’10” Dusan Ristic. Ristic scored 12 points but was limited to nine shots. Besides Joventut’s defense on Ristic, the game was decided by long-distance shooting: Joventut went 6-of-16 while Crvena was 5-of-23 while Ristic was also limited to four rebounds.
FC Barcelona Regal (2-0) beat OKK Spars Sarajevo (1-1) 53-49 to take the lead in Group B. If Regal beats INSEP tomorrow they will play for the title. 6’3” Marc Garcia (1996) led the winners with 21 points, hitting 3-of-5 threes and grabbing five rebounds. 6’4” Ludde Hakanson (1996) of Sweden added 12 points while 6’6” Adria Cantenys (1995) and 6’11” Milovan Draskovic (1995) each pulled down ten rebounds. 6’7” Nedim Buza (1995) led Spars with 14 points and also had 12 rebounds. 6’11” Doko Salic (1995) had an off game offensively, as did almost everyone else, shooting only 5-of-15 in scoring 12 points. Salic led both teams with 16 rebounds.
This was an extremely poor shooting game: The teams combined for only 12 points in the second quarter and Spars was up 32-30 after the third quarter. Regal scored 23 points in the final stanza to win it. The teams combined to shoot a painful 9-of-47 on three-pointers. Spars cut the lead to 49-47 in the final minute but Atif Durak missed a three-pointer that would have given Spars the lead with 11 seconds left.
In the day’s final game, INSEP Paris (1-1) topped Team England (0-2) 79-75 in overtime. 6’6” Paul Rigot (1995) led four INSEP players in double-figures with 16 points. Cal-Irvine recruit 6’3” Luke Nelson led England with 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting and had eight assists but turned the ball over six times. Big 7’1” Kingsley Okoroh had 13 points and nine boards for England. England held a 17-point third quarter lead after scoring 15 straight points, but INSEP came right back with their own 22-4 run to take the lead. England’s Nelson hit a buzzer-beater to force the overtime.