Israel finally recorded its first win on Friday at the basketball under-21 world championships in Argentina, but promptly lost again on Saturday to finish 10th overall of the 11 competing teams.
Yotam Halperin scored 24 during a 95-74 win over China and 34 in a 110-104 overtime defeat at the hands of Nigeria to leap to the top of the tournament's scoring charts. Before Saturday's semifinals were played, Halperin's 23.5 points per game were more than a full point ahead of the next player on the list.
Israel finished the group stage losing all four of its games, despite holding leads late in games against three of the semifinalists Greece, Australia and Canada. The blue-and-white bounced back by thrashing China in a game where it led 49-31 by halftime. Lior Eliyahu added 21 points and Raviv Limonad had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
In the ninth-place game against Nigeria, Israel was again in a position to win before suffering another fourth-quarter collapse. Eliyahu had 24 points and eight rebounds, to finish with an average of 18.2 points.
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