INSEP is the 2nd finalist in the title game of the Nike International Junior Tournament after some very tensed and unsure minutes following its Day 3 game in Group B against Zalgiris on Saturday afternoon in Paris, France. The final buzzer of the key game didn't result any smiling faces, as both teams were still in the fog regarding the face of the 2nd qualifier to the final of the Nike International Junior Tournament. INSEP won 89-82 after leading throughout most of the game, but the 7 point difference meant both sides had to wait for the final score from the last game in the group, between Union Olimpija and Cajasol, to know which of the two will take the top spot in the group. Zalgiris and INSEP share a 2-1 record, and an Olimpija win could have resulted a three-way tie, in which the 2nd tie-breaker, goal difference between the tied teams, will show +6 for both INSEP and Zalgiris. Eventually Olimpija lost and INSEP took the top spot in the group tied just with Zalgiris with the 2-1 record and the tie-breaker in its favor after the head-to-head win. Zalgiris finished 2nd. Livio Jean-Charles led his team with 20 points and 7 rebounds, Hugo Invernizzi made 19 points, Yannis Morin collected 15 and Mathis Keita hit 14 with 8 assists. Dovydas Redikas had 23 points and 4 assists, Edgaras Ulanovas hit 18 points, while Vytenis Cizauskas and Egidijus Mockevicius had 12 each.
The first quarter displayed what the two teams plan for the rest of the game as great intensity on both ends of the floor by both teams resulted an 18-18 tie after 6 minutes. William Howard and Keita set the stage for the first major run as INSEP took off to an 11-2 run to hold a 29-20 lead after 10 minutes. Invernizzi exampled his lethal handle and hit a three pointer to push the gap to 10 but Mockevicius and Redikas carried their team back to the game with 10 unanswered points. Jean-Charles dunked on a Keita assist, and was responsible for the following 4 points with an assist and a bucket to set the half time score on 44-38. INSEP maintained the lead until late in the 3rd Zalgiris made a 0-9 run with 4 players sharing the points in the run, and took a 59-60 lead. Early in the 4th quarter Morin stepped up and with a dunk and offensive board put his team back on top, 66-63. Jean-Charles joined him, but a three pointer by Redikas made it 75-70 with 5 minutes to play. After two minutes of hustle but no points Invernizzi found himself open on the arc, and was accurate, to push the gap to 8, and soon Jean-Charles added a point from the line. Ulanovas scored from distance, to give Zalgiris some hope, but Jean-Charles was accurate from the foul line, 81-73 inside the last 2 minutes. Both teams exchanged free throws, until Redikas hit another big three and cut the margin to only 6, 86-80 in the closing seconds. Invernizzi made just one attempt from the charity stripe and the gap was back on 7. Cizuaskas missed a key jumper, and the rebound was already in INSEP's hands but Jean-Charles lost balance and Mockevicus was first to recover the ball and hit an important shot of the game under the rim, 87-82. Invernizzi added the last two points from the line, and set the final gap on 7, 89-82, which didn't play a role eventually.
Saturday, May 8, 2010