U18 Helsinki Basketball Academy made more history at the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Patras by knocking off U18 ZPA Tbilisi 59-73 for its second victory and fifth place in its first-ever appearance in the competition.
Helsinki routs Tbilisi, 59-73, to finish debut in fifth place
Helsinki went on a 2-16 run spanning halftime to grab a 15-point lead and never looked back. Miro Little paced the winners with 22 points and 12 rebounds while Olavi Suutela had 11 points. Luka Alavidze collected 14 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals for Tbilisi, which was also making its maiden appearance in the event. Frederiks Meinarts also scored 14 points and Giorgi Ochkhikidze chipped in 12.
After Helsinki jumped ahead with the first 4 points, Tbilisi got 5 points from Giorgi Beruashvili and led 7-4. Suutela answered with 7 points and Erik Muhonen drained a three-pointer in a 2-14 surge to give Helsinki a 9-18 lead, which was 17-22 after 10 minutes. Ochkhikidze scored two baskets and Vache Gegeshidze made a triple to bring Tbilisi within 28-29. Little began to take over with 6 straight points and the Finnish team led 30-38 at the break.
Helsinki kept Tbilisi scoreless for the first 3 minutes of the second half and Rasmus Lindberg scored 4 points to extend the cushion to 30-45. A Ville Karhu triple pushed the lead to 33-50. Tbilisi was not done as it reeled off 8 straight points to pull within 41-50. Helsinki finished the quarter strong as Viljami Vartiainen’s three-pointer made it 42-57 after 30 minutes. Gogita Bukia started the fourth quarter with 5 points as Tbilisi rallied within 49-59. Once again Little stepped up with 6 straight points to start a 0-10 run that made it 49-69 with 3 minutes left. Alavidez made a pair of three-pointers, but the gap was much too large to threaten Helsinki.