EuroBasket 2013: OTs, Upsets, Italy stands alone

EuroBasket 2013

Coming into Day 4 of the EuroBasket 2013 competition, there were four undefeated teams. As the dust settled on Ljubljana, Jesenice, Celje, and Koper, Slovenia Sunday, the only club that made it out of Day 4 unblemished was Italy after their big 81:72 win over previously undefeated Greece. France knocked off unbeaten Ukraine 77:71 in Group A, and Slovenia lost a Group C heartbreaker to Croatia 76:74 in overtime.

In three of the four groups there are four teams playing for three spots in the next round, but in Group D the three advancement papers have already been assigned. Italy sits at the top of the group at 4-0, Greece is 3-1, and Finland is 3-1, all will move on. At the bottom of the group is Turkey and Sweden at 1-3, and Russia at 0-4.

In Group A France and Ukraine are 3-1, with Belgium and Great Britain at 2-2. France will square off with Belgium and Ukraine will take on Great Britain. Should Belgium and Great Britain both with the group would end in a four-way tie at 3-2, kicking off a messy tiebreaker.

Group B is potentially an easier scenario for the playoff picture with Num 3 Latvia (2-2) playing FYR of Macedonia (1-3) and sitting ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2-2) in a tie-break due to a win on Day 1. Num 4 BIH (2-2) plays Num 1 Lithuania (3-1), and Num 2 Serbia (3-1) plays Num 5 Montenegro (1-3).

Spain, Slovenia, and Croatia are all 3-1 in Group C, but the only team that could get bumped is Croatia if the Czech Republic beats them on Monday, which would give both teams 3-2 records and CR would win the tie-break on the head-to-head match.

Group A
France – Ukraine, 77:71
Tony Parker scored 15 of his game-high 28 in the fourth quarter and dropped nine during a late scoring run that the Frenchmen put together to overcome the scrappy Ukrainians and even their records at 3-1. The stats for these two clubs were all over the board as Ukraine were hot outside, while France took more shoots inside the arc. The Ukrainians shot 50% (13 of 26) behind the arc, compared to 6 of 18 (33.3%) for France. At the line and inside the arc the French were much better, hitting 17 of 24 (70.8%) from the line and 21 of 47 (44.7%) inside the arc. Ukraine were 10 of 18 (55.6%) at the line and 11 of 33 (33.3%) inside the arc. France also dominated the boards 46 to 32.

They hurt us on the offensive boards. We did not shoot our free-throws and that did not give us a chance to hang in there when they made their run. And that all adds up against a very good team. Unlike France, we had some defensive breakdowns. Our offensive execution was not as good as it could have been. But credit to France for that.
— Ukraine head coach Mike Fratello

The Ukrainians got out on a 7:0 to open the game, but were only able to hold on to a pair of those points, 16:14, at the end of the quarter. France got their first lead in the contest with 8:09 to play in the half on a Parker three-point play. That lead was short-lived as Ukraine took the lead back and other than a couple of times the clubs knotted the score during the second quarter, they held on to it for the duration. At the end of the half Ukraine had a slim one-point lead, 33:32.

EuroBasket 2013
France’s Mickael Gelabale catches his breath during a break in the action of France’s EuroBasket 2013 contest against Ukraine.

Pooh Jeter dropped a triple two minutes into the third to open scoring and give the Ukrainians a four-point lead. Parker countered with a layup immediately after and Boris Diaw got a nifty alley-oop from Mickael Gelabale for a dunk the knotted the score at 39. After going back and forth for a few trips up and down the court, Gelabale knocked consecutive three-balls that put France on top at 47:43. Jeter countered with his own three-pointer to keep Ukraine close, and by the end of the third 10 the teams had tied things up again at 51.

Midway through the fourth, with the score 60:59, in favor of the Frenchmen, France put the game away with a 10:0 run getting up 70:59 with 2:37 to play. The Ukrainians held on until the final horn, but Parker’s 15 during the frame and the 10 point run were just too much to overcome and France had a 77:71 win.

France will wrap up Round 1 on Monday with Belgium and Ukraine will square off against Great Britain.

Parker’s 28 was game-high for France, Diaw added 15, and Gelabale dropped 10. Jeter was team-high for the Ukraine with 20.

Great Britain – Germany, 81:74
Great Britain positioned themselves at the doorstep of the second round with an 81:74 win over Germany, but they’ll have to go through the Ukrainians to get their seat at the table for Round 2. Germany drops to 1-3 and will be thrown in the tiebreaker mix if they beat Israel, GB loses to Ukraine, and Belgium falls to France. That’s a long ways to go to get included in the mix, but it could happen. As for Great Britain, they have the hands full with Ukraine, but it should be a good game.

Andrew Lawrence was game-high with 23 for Great Britain, Myles Hesson added a 21P/11R double-double, and Daniel Clark dropped 17 points during the win. Tibor Pleiss had a huge day for Germany with a 20P/13R double-double, while adding 3 assists, and 2 blocked shots.

Israel – Belgium, 87:69
Israel got their first EuroBasket 2013 win on Sunday, at the expense of Belgium, who was looking to solidify their position in Group A. The loss drops the Belgians to 2-2 with a final contest against France remaining. Israel will meet up with Germany and have an outside shot at advancing Belgium and Great Britain both lose Monday.

Afik Missim was game-high for Israel with 23 points and 5 assists, Yotam Halperin added 14, and Lior Eliyahu dropped 13. Maxime De Zeeuw paced Belgium with 13, and Axel Hervelle added 13 points and 7 rebounds.

EuroBasket Group A

Round 1 Match List[matches league_id=35 group=A template=summary dateformat=”M. j, Y”]

Standings[standings league_id=35 group=A show_website=false template=nolink]

Group B
Serbia – Latvia, 80:71
Serbia stayed with Lithuania at the top of Group B with equal 3-1 records, after an 80:71 win over Latvia. The Latvians dropped to 2-2 with the loss and are tied with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the standings. Serbia will wrap up Round 1 play against Montenegro (1-3), Lithuania will face Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Latvia will square off against FYR of Macedonia (1-3).

Serbia got out to a big 28:15 lead to open the contest, starting things off with a 12:2 run. Latvia took three back in the second, by opening with an 8:2 run behind a three-ball and three singles by Dairis Bertans. At the end of the 13:10 quarter, Latvia trailed by 10, 38:28.

An 8:0 run midway through the third frame cut the Latvia deficit from 14 to six, 44:38, and by the time there were 40 seconds to play in the frame, they had sliced the gap to three, 52:51. Unfortunately for Latvia, Nemanja Nedovic and Bogdan Bogdanovic knocked down triples with 25 and 1 second, respectively, on the clock, with a Martins Meiers layup in the middle, to extend the Serbian lead back to five, 58:53.

In the final frame Latvia was able to pull to within three on a couple of occasions, but Serbia pulled away late in the frame to seal up an 80:71 victory.

Nenad Krstic was game-high with 25 points and 5 rebounds for Serbia, while Nemanja Bjelica and Rasko Katic added 11 points each to the win. Kristaps Janicenoks scored a team-high 18 for Latvia, Bertans added 14, and Janis Blums dropped in 12.

Lithuania – Montenegro, 77:70
Lithuania remained in a tie for the top position in Group B with Serbia after a 77:70 overtime win over Montenegro, who falls to 1-3. Tyrese Rice sliced the nylon with a three-ball with 10.7 seconds on the clock to send the contest into the extra five. Lithuania pulled away late in the OT period, to register the 77:70 victory.

Ksistof Lavrinovic was game-high for Serbia with 24 points, Jonas Valanciunas added a 12P/10R double-double. Rice paced Montenegro with 19 points, while Bojan Dubljevic added 14.

Bosnia and Herzegovina – FYR of Macedonia, 62:54
BIH used a big fourth quarter where they outscored the FYR of Macedonia 21:9 to earn their second win during EuroBasket 2013 competition, 62:54. The contest was close until the Bosnia and Herzegovina squad went on a 12:2 run starting midway through the final frame, running to the end of the contest. When they started the run they were down two, 52:50, but came out with a 62:54 win.

Mirza Teletovic was game-high for BIH with 22, Nihad Djedovic had a big day, tallying 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Bo McCalebb was team-high for the Macedonians with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Pero Antic added 17 points and 7 rebounds.

EuroBasket Group B

Round 1 Match List[matches league_id=35 group=B template=summary dateformat=”M. j, Y”]

Standings[standings league_id=35 group=B show_website=false template=nolink]

Group C
Croatia – Slovenia, 76:74
It took Croatia and the extra five minutes of an overtime period to do it, but they were able to outlast the previously unbeaten hosts, 76:74, and move into a three-way tie at the top of Group C with Slovenia and Spain. The top three teams play the bottom three with only the Czech Republic in a position to crack into the top three and advance to Round 2. If the Czech’s beat Croatia, they’ll win the tie break on head-to-head competition, but if either of the other two top teams lose, that’ll throw all the 3-2 teams into a tiebreaker pool.

The first half was tightly fought with neither team getting any kind of long-lasting lead. Slovenia held a five-point lead at the end of the first, but had that cut to three off a Luka Zoric dunk with two seconds left on the first frame clock, giving Slovenia a three-point lead, 20:17. Slovenia did have a 9:2 run to open the second quarter, getting up 29:19, but Croatia countered with an eight-point run of their own to cut the lead to two, 29:27. Croatia knotted the score at 33 with 3:13 on the clock, but let Slovenia get away with an 8:2 run, including a Uros Slokar layup at the horn to send the teams into the break with Slovenia up six, 41:35.

The advantage grew to 13, 50:37, with just under seven minutes to play. Three minutes later Slovenia got a triple out of Bostjan Nachbar to put them up 58:45 with 3:30 left on the clock. Those would be the final points Slovenia would put up in the third 10, as Croatia would tighten down their defense and run off 10 straight to pull to within 57:55 heading into the fourth.

The final frame was a light scoring quarter, but the lead was exchanged a number of times, until Ante Tomic split a pair of singles with 20 seconds to play, tying the score at 65, and sending the clubs into the extra frame.

Damjan Rudez knocked down a triple to open scoring in the OT period. Bojan Bogdanovic also hit a three-ball for Croatia shortly after to extend their lead to five, 71:66. Nachbar hit a jumper to pull Slovenia back to within a pair, but Rudez countered with a three-pointer to push the lead back to five. With the score 78:73 in favor of Croatia, Domen Lorbek was sent to the line for a pair of singles with 0.8 seconds remaining. He connected on the first and put up a perfect miss off the back of the rim that was on the way into the hands of teammate Zoran Dragic, who looked like he was hit from behind as he went to put the ball back up. No foul was called and Croatia improved to 3-1, while Slovenia took their first loss of EuroBasket 2013.

Bogdanovic was game-high with 24 points and 7 rebounds, and Tomic added an 11P/15R double-double. Goran Dragic connected on 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists for Slovenia, Lorbek added 16, and Z. Dragic tallied 11 points and 8 rebounds.

Spain – Poland, 89:53
Spain got up 49:13 at halftime of their contest against Poland, and ended with a 36-point victory to remain at the top of Group C. Poland dropped to 0-4 with the loss. The defending EuroBasket champs felt that they had things to work on, so they continued playing their basketball game, even as they led by as many as 48 early on in the fourth. Poland outscored Spain 23:11 in the fourth quarter, to pull back a dozen of the points they gave up.

Spain will wrap up Round 1 with a contest against Georgia, while Poland will meet Slovenia.

Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio both scored 15 points each and Rudy Fernandez added 13. Przemyslaw Zamojski led Poland with 11.

Czech Republic – Georgia, 95:79
The Czech Republic went on a 10:1 run late in the second frame to build a 19-point lead that they never let up on their way to a 95:79 win over Georgia. The win improves the Czechs’ record to 2-2, while Georgia drops to 1-3.

The final games of Round 1 include the Czech Republic taking on Croatia in a game that may make or break either team’s advancement to the second round.

Jan Vesely was game-high for the Czechs with a 27P/10R double-double, and Tomas Satoransky added 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. Georgia got 20 each from Manuchar Markoishvilli and George Tsintsadze, and 20 points and 9 rebounds.

EuroBasket Group C

Round 1 Match List[matches league_id=35 group=C template=summary dateformat=”M. j, Y”]

Standings[standings league_id=35 group=C show_website=false template=nolink]

Group D
Italy – Greece, 81:72
In a match-up of two of the remaining four undefeated teams, Italy put together a late-game rally that put away the Greek squad and left Italy as the sole undefeated team in the EuroBasket 2013 competition remaining. Marco Belinelli led the Italians with 23 points and 7 rebounds.

The contest opened with the clubs trading baskets for the better part of the first frame, but both teams failed to score again after Greece knotted the score at 16 with 2:22 remaining. Greece got up by as many as six in the second quarter, but Italy closed the gap in the final minute of the half, including a Belinelli triple with two seconds to play. Greece took a 38:36 lead into the break.

Italy outscored Greece 27:18 in the third frame, to go from two down to up seven to head into the final frame leading 63:56. The Italians had led by 10 with 1:45 to play, but Greece outscored the 5:2 in the final minute to cut the lead to seven.

A 14:7 run through the first half of the fourth brought the two clubs even at 70 each. Italy ran off six unanswered to get up 76:70 with 1:16. Greece couldn’t connect on the key basket when they needed to down the stretch, while Italy found the cords easily to come away with an 81:72 win.

Belinelli was game-high for Italy with 23 points, while Luigi Datome added 19. Nikos Zisis dropped in 16 for Greece, and Stratos Perperoglou added 12.

Turkey – Sweden, 87:74
Turkey picked up their first EuroBasket 2013 win with an 87:74 victory over Sweden. The game results in both Turkey and Sweden are tied for fourth place in Group D with 1-3 records and have been eliminated from advancement to Round 2.

Turkey got 22 points from Ender Arslan and 21 from Ersan Ilyoscova. Emir Preldzic added a 11P/10A double-double. Jeffery Taylor scored 18 for Sweden, and Jonas Jerebko added 17.

Finland – Russia, 86:83
It took Finland and Russia two extra periods to finally determine which club would win Game 4. The win was big for Finland as it moved them into Round 2 along with Italy and Greece. This will be only the second time that Finland has advanced past the opening round.

Finland took a one-point lead into the break at halftime, then Russia put up six to get a five-point lead at the end of the third, 46:41.

Through the first half Finland worked to bridge the gap, with just 4:21 to play, they were able to pull to within one, 56:55. With just under three minutes to play, they had drawn even at 57. Over the final minute of the contest, the Fins outscored Russia 10:5, capped off with a pair of singles with three seconds to play and tying the score at 67.

Finland scored the last four points of the first OT session, tying the score again at 75 and sending the game into a second extra five. The clubs exchanged baskets until 1:27 remained, when Finland’s Gerald Lee threw down a dunk to break an 82-82 tie. From then out it was a matter of which team could get to the line more, as they both split pairs of free throws, but Finland got there twice and Russia only once, giving Finland an 86:83 win.

Finland got 20 from Shawn Huff and three double-doubles: Sasu Salin and Tuukka Kotti had 12R/10R games and Petteri Koponen turned in an 11P/11A performance. Russia got a game-high 25 from Aleksey Shved, and a 16P/10R double-double from Vitally Fridzon.

EuroBasket Group D

Round 1 Match List[matches league_id=35 group=D template=summary dateformat=”M. j, Y”]

Standings[standings league_id=35 group=D show_website=false template=nolink]

EuroBasket 2013

Each game on Sunday was opened with a moment of silence out of respect for the Hungarian EuroLeague Women’s club Uni Györ. The team’s bus was involved in an accident on Saturday that claimed the lives of head coach Fuzy Akos, and the team’s manager Peter Tapodi. One player, 19-yr old Hungarian Natasa Kovacevic had to have her left leg amputated below her knee due to injuries sustained in the accident. Cause of the accident was a 70 yr-old man driving on the opposite side of the highway crossing into the bus’ lane, and to avoid a high-speed, head-on collision the driver swerved to the right, and into a ditch resulting in the bus ending up on it’s side.

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