Game 31: Brazil v South Africa
On the sixth day of play at the Men’s U23 World Championships Brazil battled South Africa to claim their first win of the tournament with an 85-29 victory in the first of the tournament’s classification matches. The win meant Brazil took 11th place while South Africa was resigned to 12th.
Brazil outpaced the South African team from the get-go, securing a 14 point advantage in the first quarter and building on that momentum throughout the rest of the game. Francisco Sampaio paced the Brazilian offense with 19 points and Ayabongo Jim notched 14 points for Team South Africa.
Quarter-final round ups
Game 32: Great Britain v Iran
In the first quarter-final match of the tournament, Great Britain claimed a 77-50 win against Iran after a dominant performance.
The British team came blazing out of the gates and Iran struggled to keep in touch right from the beginning. The Iranians found themselves in some foul trouble early and they lost key player Mehdi Mandegari, who was fouled out at the end of the second, allowing Great Britain to take a 19 point lead into the half time break.
Great Britain continued to carry this momentum through to the second half and with Jack Perry leading the British offense with 20 points, GB took the victory. Iran’s Mohammadhassan Sayari countered with a game-high 21 points.
With the win Great Britain advances to the semifinals and Iran will be playing for seventh.
Game 33: Germany v Australia
With a 69-66 win against Germany, Australia advances to the semifinals.
The first half of the game favoured Germany as the team took advantage of cracks in the Australian defense while also pushing away their offense. Going into the second half Germany led by 11 points.
The Australians would not be deterred and with renewed intensity managed to make it a one point game by the end of the third quarter. The Germans were unable to stop the sharp shooting by Australia’s Tom O’Neill-Thorne that allowed them to take the lead in the fourth. A huge three pointer from Germany’s Marcel Gerber forced it to a 1 point game with one minute remaining, O’Neill-Thorne sealed it from the free throw line.
Australia’s Head Coach, Luke Brennan, said, “I’m so proud of the boys. A lot of teams would have fallen behind after being down so much at halftime but credit to the boys. They fought and fought and fought and ended up pushing out a big three point win.”
Germany’s Matthias Güntner was the team-high scorer with 19 points, while teammate Nico Dreimüller contributed a double double with 12 points and 10 assists. On the Australian side O’Neill-Thorne paced the Australian attack with game-high 29 points.
Game 36: Canada v Japan
Canadian hosts were unable to push past the strong Japanese defense and admitted a 58-45 defeat to Japan after a tight quarter-final match.
The first half was a low scoring affair, both teams shots not dropping. Japan held a small 2 point lead at the end of the first but their defensive pressure paid off, forcing a number of turnovers from the Canadians, which Japan capitalised on for an eight point advantage at the half.
The teams returned to the court to exchange baskets throughout most of the second half, Canada not allowing Japan out to break away from the tight game. It wasn’t until halfway through the fourth quarter, with Canada trailing by four, that Japan hit their stride and left the Canadians behind after going on a 13 point run.
Japan’s Takuya Furusawa tallied the game-high 21 points and Renshi Choikai secured a double double for Japan with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Canadian contingent was led by Liam Hickey’s 19 points and 14 rebounds while Ben Moronchuk contributed 18 points.
Canada’s Assistant Coach, Dave Durepos, said, “I’m really proud of the guys, they came together and they had an opportunity to win it. We came a little bit short this game, and have to give it to Japan, they’re a quick team. This is a great opportunity to grow, they’ll probably always remember this when it’s going to be difficult to go on. We’re looking forward to playing Germany, we played against them just this past month and we did well, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Game 35: Turkey v France
Adding another barn burner to the day’s quarter-final matches, Turkey defeated France with a 60-54 win to secure the final berth in the semifinals.
France unleashed a spirited attack against the undefeated Turkish team. After a tied score at half, French players Alexis Ramonet and Louis Hardouin led the team to a five point lead in the third quarter. Turkey’s Ahmet Efetürk countered for Turkey to tie the game once again going into the fourth.
For the first time in the game Turkey took the lead in the fourth after a 10-2 run that France couldn’t recover from. Efetürk took the game-high 22 points for Turkey while Ramonet and Hardouin finished with 18 points each for France.
Looking ahead, Efetürk, spoke about their upcoming game against Australia in the semis, “We know our mistakes from our last game against Australia, but this time we’re not going to make any mistakes and the game will be ours.”