USK Future Stars Prague showed it doesn't need to wait for the future to produce results with a 76-75 victory over La Caja de Canarias to take the first ticket to the semi-finals in Group B in the Barking Abbey Academy Euroleague Basketball Junior Classification Tournament on Friday evening in London, England. Prague will wait for the final score in the last game in the group to know its final standings and semi-final opponent. The winner of the tournament will get a ticket to the Nike International Junior Tournament, that will take place in Paris, France during the 2010 Euroleague Final Four. The game was a roller coaster ride and included a big push by Canarias in the closing minute to come back from -9 all the way to force overtime, but missed the chance and finished the group with three losses to play for the 7th spot tomorrow. Michal Sotnar led USK with 23 points, Ondrej Balvin finished with 14 while Tomas Kyzlink had 11. Adrian Baez finished with 24 points in 24 minutes and Jonay Cazorla added 13 points.
The first quarter showed only one team on the floor. USK used Balvin to take a 19-4 lead after 8 minutes of basketball. Cazorla gathered points for Canarias but that was enough only to reach the end of the first 10 minutes behind 23-14. Baez waited a while to get his game going and stepped up in the second quarter to score 9 points as now Canarias was on top of the game, behind a 2-15 run, and a 23-27 lead. Balvin stopped the Spanish run, but added just two points until the break, to see his team enter the locker room down by 5, 35-40. Canarias continued to hold the lead, until Sotnar released a three pointer to tie the score at 45-45 after 26 minutes, and until the end of the quarter the lead changes hands again and again. With Balvin out with 5 fouls USK went with a shorter line-up but a very aggressive on the rebound. Sotnar used it to collect points and push the gap to 64-55 in favor of his bench. Canarias put pressure on the ball and Baez on offense to move closer, but Sotnar sent the games into the last minute separated by 8 points, 72-64. Full court pressure which led to steals and quick point, quick enough to cut the margin to just two inside the last 10 seconds. Cazorla went to shoot twice with 3 ticks on the clock, but made just the second, which paved the way for USK to get the next round ticket.
Friday, February 19, 2010