The penultimate day of the preliminary stages saw Japan and Germany hold off, Brazil and Australia, respectively, in two nail-biting matches at the 2021 IWBF Men’s U23 World Championship. USA, Israel and Turkey all added another win to their record.

South Africa 40 – 69 USA

The USA got back to winning ways with a solid team performance against South Africa. The USA won the first three quarters 7-18, 10-17 and 9-20 to hold a 29-point lead going into the final quarter.

The less experienced South Africa, who have been improving with every game at the Championship, matched the USA in the final quarter keeping it all square 14-14, but the game was already won, 40-69, and the USA secured their spot in the quarter-finals of the U23 World Championship.

With four players in double digits, Eastwood led the way with 16 points followed by Merendes (14 points), Denbraber (11 points) and Armas (10 points). Jim and Yalezo top scored for South Africa with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Canada 40-82 Turkey

Canada came into the game still looking for their first win of the Championship, but it was not to be despite a determined start which saw them trail by just 3 points midway through the opening quarter, but a number of turnovers from Canada allowed Turkey to take advantage of the game and win the quarter 12-21.

A 12-0 run in the second quarter from Turkey blew Canada away, winning the quarter 7-27 and pushing out to a 29-point lead at the break. The momentum stayed with Turkey in the second half to run out winners, 40-82, and go 3-1 to match Spain’s win-loss record and tie the group rankings.

Hasan Efeturk came off the Turkish bench to top score with 17 points, followed closely by his captain Gunaydin who finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Lalonde (11 points) and Ostepchuk (10 points) were Canada’s top scorers.

Thailand 29-68 Israel

Israel concluded their group games with a victory over hosts Thailand to finish with a 4-1 record. The home side kept it close to begin with, losing the first quarter 13-6 but buoyed by their noisy travelling supporters Israel put their foot on the gas in the second and third adding 21 points to their advantage. Israel closed the game out with a 17-6 final quarter, with Thailand struggling to find their touch shooting at just 22%, throughout the game.

Israel’s Captain, Ido Maimon was the game’s top scorer putting up a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Japan 51-45 Brazil

It was an intense and physical game in a fight for rankings in Group A between Brazil and Japan. Japan edged the first half, holding a slender five-point advantage 27-22 but Brazil took the third quarter, 15-12, to make it a 2-point game going into the final ten minutes.

Several turnovers and fouls by Brazil allowed Japan to extend their lead to five points again at the beginning of the fourth. Both teams struggled to find the basket in the last 5 minutes and remained scoreless apart from 1 free throw from Japan’s Satoshi Shiota, as Japan prevailed, 51-45. to keep their undefeated record and stay on top of Group A.

It was again Brazil’s Cristiano Clemente who was their go-to man, the top scorer for the game with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Japan’s Chokai and Akaishi were Japan’s top scorers both scored 13 points apiece.

Australia 53-55 Germany

The final game of the day between Australia and Germany did not disappoint, Australia came out with vengeance and surprised the currently unbeaten Germany jumping out to an 8-2 lead early in the first.

A change of lineup from the Germans saw them recover and win the second and third quarters, 11-19 and 10-17, to give them a 9-point advantage going into the final period.

But a 9-0 scoring run in the fourth from Australia brought it back to within two points with just 5 minutes remaining. In the thrilling final minutes of the game, the teams went basket for basket to see the Germans hang on to claim the win 53-55 and remain perfect (4-0) in Group B.

The top scorers were Germany’s Alex Budde with 22 points and Australia’s Jaylen Brown 20 points.

Follow all the action from the 2021 IWBF Men’s U23 World Championship 

Photo Credit: Shingo ITO – X-1