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Ukraine beats Britain to advance at Euro champs

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) - Ukraine and Latvia advanced to the second round of the European basketball championship on Monday.

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The Ukrainians beat Britain 87-68, getting 11 points each from Ihor Zaytsev and Kyryl Natyazhko. Latvia, which got 15 points from Kristaps Janicenoks, defeated Macedonia 76-66 and eliminated a team that was in the semifinals two years ago.

On the final day of group play, defending champion Spain won its fourth in five games by beating Georgia 83-59 to reach the second round. Ricky Rubio led Spain with 16 points.

Also, Finland beat Greece 86-77 in a match between two already-qualified teams. Petteri Koponen scored 29 for Finland, while Nikos Zisis had 19 for Greece.

Italy will finish on top of Group D, with Finland second and Greece third.

Ukraine dominated from the start to improve to 4-1 and eliminate Britain.

``They had a chance to advance depending on what happened but we also wanted to advance, and it was important to our players to advance by winning,'' Ukraine coach Mike Fratello said. ``Now we'll move on and try to keep going.''

Spain trailed by one with just over three minutes left in the second quarter when Rudy Fernandez made a three-point play to put his team ahead by two. Spain then went on a 15-2 run to put away the game.

``We were aggressive on defense and found easy shots on offense. I think we did a good job on defense and that gave us consistency in the game,'' Rubio said. ``We as a team, and I especially, like to run and whenever we can do it we feel comfortable.

``We always try to impose our pace, but of course that's not possible at all times. We know that we have had a good first round, with one lost game against Slovenia, so we know that we have to correct some things and we are ready for whatever is about to come,'' the Minnesota Timberwolves point guard added.

Latvia outscored Macedonia 27-16 in the first quarter after starting the game with a 12-0 run.

``The plan was to be real aggressive, play aggressive defense. Because of that we got so many fast breaks,'' Latvia point guard Dairis Bertans said. ``We haven't been (to the second round) for so many years and we had a really tough group this year.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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