Discover more from Ekalavyas | Basketball
FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup: India boys on the brink of elimination
India has lost its first two games against Ukraine (16-18) and Latvia (13-21). Now it needs to win both its remaining games to stand any chance of progressing to the knockouts.
Debrecen, Hungary: Marking its return to the World stage after a whopping 12 years, India has found the going tough so far, dropping its first two pool games against Ukraine and Latvia on August 31.
India lose to Ukraine 16-18
Against Ukraine, India had its best chance - getting good looks early but not finishing. Forward Kushal Singh’s shot selection initially was especially suspect, with the post player settling for outside jumpers. Backup point guard Jaideep Rathore - the smallest person on court by far - proved to be India’s weakest link, unable to finish against the wall of taller Ukrainian defenders.
That said, Ukraine conceded four team fouls within the first 4:10 mins, just two shy of breaching the limit. India’s starting trio of Singh, (Lokendra) Singh and Harsh Dagar showcased their aggressive intent - repeatedly driving to the basket.
India took an early 6-4 lead and looked to be in control of proceedings.
That’s when Ukraine’s outside shooting prowess came to the fore. Five straight points by Bohdan Malich (which included two two-pointers) saw Ukraine finally take the lead. India’s Kushal Singh tried valiantly to counter, with four points of his own. He was joined by Lokendra Singh’s back-to-back layups, which brought India within 1 pt, 13-14 of Ukraine, with less than one minute remaining.
However, by this time, India itself got into foul trouble, which Ukraine capitalized on, converting four straight free throws, giving it an insurmountable 18-14 lead. Right at the buzzer, Harsh Dagar knocked down a two-pointer - which reduced the final deficit to two points.
India (Kushal Singh 7 pts, Harsh Dagar 6 pts) lose to Ukraine (Bohdan Malich 10 pts, Nazar Korol 7 pts) 16-18
India overwhelmed by Latvia 13-21
In their second pool game, this time against 4th seed Latvia, India found the going even tougher. Latvia’s physicality was on full display, resulting in early foul trouble for India. India had already conceded six team fouls before the half-way mark of the game - which meant free throws for Latvia at every subsequent foul.
Latvia also gleefully exploited India’s overeagerness to close down the passing lanes, with perfectly timed backdoor cuts resulting in easy layups.
After a 4-4 scoreline, Latvia went on a 16-3 scoring binge to lead 20-7 with almost four minutes of play still remaining. Thereafter, Latvia kept hunting for a game-winning two-pointer to get to 22 points, which allowed India to go on a meaningless 6-0 run. Eventually, Latvia put an end to India’s misery with a winning layup by Toms Salnājs.
India (Harsh Dagar 5 pts, Lokendra Singh 4 pts) lose to Latvia (Jānis Censonis 7 pts, Edvards Egle 5 pts, Toms Salnājs 5 pts) 13-21
India next faces Israel at 9:25 pm IST (Sept 1) followed by Kyrgyzstan at 12:40 am IST (Sept 2)
The games will be live-streamed on FIBA 3x3’s YouTube channel.