EuroBasket 2013: Spain falls to Slovenia on Day 2

With Day 2 of EuroBasket 2013 in the books, there are only seven of the 24 teams still undefeated with some serious shakeups in the groups going on.

In Group A the sole undefeated club is Ukraine after defeating Israel Thursday and Belgium on Wednesday. Group B sports two unblemished marks with Serbia and Latvia sitting at 2-0. Serbia upset Lithuania on Wednesday and outlasted Bosnia and Herzegovina Thursday, while Latvia defeated BIH on Wednesday and slipped by Montenegro on Thursday. Group C is the shocker with host squad Slovenia standing alone in with a 2-0 record after putting up nine on Spain Thursday and beating the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Group D has a traffic jam at the top with three teams sporting no straight lines in the loss column as Greece, Finland, and Italy all made it through Day 2 without a defeat. Greece has the best point differential in the tournament having scored 159 to their opponent’s 122 after beating Sweden Wednesday and turning back Russia on Thursday. Finland’s is one of the sleeper clubs of the competition thus far having beaten Turkey on Wednesday and stopping Sweden on Thursday. Italy is also 2-0 on wins over Russia on Wednesday and Turkey on Thursday.

Friday’s schedule will have Groups A and B in action, with Groups C and D playing game three on Saturday. All four groups are back on for game four on Sunday and then all 24 will play on Monday to wrap up Round 1.

Group A
Ukraine – Israel, 74:67
The Ukrainians took over control of Group A with a solid 74:67 defeat of Israel in the early game in Ljubljana on Thursday. Israel’s next game will be against France, while Ukraine will meet up with Germany, both games will be played on Friday.

Israel found themselves down 13:2 early in the first and was never able to get the lead despite pulling to within a one or two on multiple occasions. At the end of the first frame Ukraine had built a six-point lead, 19:13, and then added three more in the second to take a 35:26 advantage into the break. Israel took two back in the third, and closed the gap to a point, 35:34 with just over six minutes to play in the frame, and then do the same twice more, but could never get the key stop or basket to get over the hump. At the end of the quarter the lead had stretched to seven, 53:46. Israel was able to again get to within one, 58:57, midway through the final stanza, but that was as close as they’d get with the Ukrainians pulling away to a seven-point win in the end.

Sergii Gladyr was game-high with 17 for Ukraine, while Vlacheslav Kravtsov added 15 points and 8 rebounds to the win. Afik Nissim dropped 12 points for Israel.

Belgium – Germany, 77:73 OT
It took Belgium and extra five to do it, but they were able to hold on to defeat Germany 77:73 to even the clubs at 1-1 in the standings. The loss comes on the heels of a big win over France on Day 1 for the Germans, who will next face the unbeaten Ukrainians on Friday. Belgium will square off against Great Britain.

The teams played to a 16:14 German advantage in the first, but Belgium had a huge second quarter, outscoring Germany 21:10, and starting the quarter on a 16:0 run. Germany knocked down the final six of the half to cut their deficit from 15 to nine heading into the break. The third was again evenly played with Germany picking off another two, to set up the final frame with Belgium up seven, 48:41. By the midway point of the fourth the German had bridged the gap and knotted the score at 54. Belgium got up by four with 1:41 to play, but consecutive layups by Robing Benzing pulled the clubs even at 60. Jonathan Tabu knocked down a triple for Belgium with 35 seconds to play and was countered by a long-ball from Lucca Staiger with 17 seconds to tie things up again at 63. Belgium had an opportunity to close the deal, but a Guy Muya three-ball missed it’s mark at the buzzer, sending the contest into OT. Belgium scored the first five of the extra session and never gave up the lead. Germany only once got to within a point, 74:73, but Belgium sank three of four from the charity stripe in the final 18 seconds to lock up the win.

Tabu and Sacha Massot were team-high with 15 points for Belgium. Benzing led the way for Germany with a game-high 24.

Tony Parker Eurobasket 2013

France – Great Britain, 88:65
The final contest of the day in Group A pitted France against Great Britain, with the tough French squad taking out some frustration over their loss to the Ukrainians on Day 1. The only time France didn’t lead was 33 seconds into the game GB got a triple from Kyle Johnson to give his club a 3-2 lead. After that, it was all France.

After the Johnson three-ball, France ran of 13 unanswered to get up 15:3. They played the second half of the first quarter even, which gave the Frenchmen a 26:14 advantage. France opened the scoring in the second with a Florent Pietrus triple, then found themselves on the wrong end of a nine point run that closed the margin to five, 28:23. Later in the frame France hit six straight to build a 10-point advantage. In the final 17 seconds Nicolas Batum got two shots off from behind the arc, with the second being at the horn, but he came up empty on both, locking in an eight-point lead for France as they headed for the dressing rooms for the intermission with the French up 45:37. A 13:2 run to open the second half basically put the game away with France leading by 19, 58:39. By the end of the third the gap had grown to 23, 71:48, which is where it ended as the horn sounded on at the end of the 40th minute with France up 88:65.

France got a game-high 17 from Batum, 16 from Tony Parker, and an 10P/11R double-double from Alexis Ajinca. Daniel Clark paced Great Britain with 16 and Devon Van Oostrum added 13.

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
Latvia – Montenegro, 73:72
Latvia got seven points from Kristaps Janicenoks in the final three minutes, including the game-winner with six seconds to play and five from Rihards Kuksiks in 30 seconds, as they took a game from Montenegro that looked to be well in hand midway through the final frame.

The first two quarters were dead even as they ended the first knotted at 17 after Milko Bjelica knocked down a triple at the horn, and then headed into the break with the score even at 37 with Tyrese Rice splitting a pair of free throws with one second on the clock. Latvia was able to get up by seven in the third, but settled for a two-point advantage after a 17:15 quarter. Rice made quick work of the gap, hitting a pair of free throws with just 31 seconds off the clock to tie things up at 54. A Bjelica three-pointer midway through the final frame gave Montenegro an eight point advantage, 67:59, but Latvia ran off nine straight to take a 69:68 lead. Rice did his part down the stretch for Montenegro, connecting on a pair of singles and taking the lead back with a three-point play with 11 seconds left to go up 72:71. After a Latvia timeout, Janicenoks sank what would be the game winning jumper with six seconds to play off a nice kick from under the basket off a penetrating drive by Janis Blums. Rice had an opportunity to win a second game in two days, but his layup with a second to play wouldn’t fall, giving Latvia the victory.

Janicenoks was team-high for Latvia with 15, with Rolands Freimanis adding 12. Rice was game-high for Montenegro with 24, and Blagota Sekulic added 13.

Bosnia-Serbia, 67:77

Serbia has started the tournament strong, managing to proceed with a 2-0 record thanks to their 10-point victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina, who fell to 0-2 and now must play with greater urgency in the coming days if they want to stay alive. Serbia took an early lead, half way into the first quarter and simply did not let Bosnia threaten them. Serbia pounded the ball in the middle, forcing Bosnia’s defense to collapse on the paint. Bosnia tried their best to make adjustments, but Serbia’s 42 points in the paint was far too overwhelming for their opponents to overcome. Serbia’s defense coupled with unforced errors by Bosnia, caused the Bosnian squad to rack up a total of 13 turnovers, preventing them to mount a rally to shatter the 10-point deficit that stared them in the face.

Serbia’s hero for the game was Stefan Markovic, who led his team with 15 points and seven rebounds. Rasko Katic and Nemanja Nedovic provided Serbia with key offense off the bench and added 12 and 11 points respectively.

On the Bosnian front, Nihad Djedovic came up with 17 points and seven boards of his own. While Mirz Teletovic chipped in 16 points and five rebounds of his own. Only four Bosnian player got into the action and were able to score in double digits, as the rest of the team couldn’t seem to get in on the offense.

Lithuania-FYR Macedonia, 75:67

The key to Lithuania’s victory was their ability to execute their game plan and do what they do best, which is to control and dominate in the paint. They carved out a much-needed victory, recovering after a Day-1 loss to Serbia. Lithuanian coach Jonas Kazlauskas deserved a lot of credit as he got his men to keep their composure and systematically pounded out a victory. This was a big loss for Macedonia, who are now 0-2 in the competition. They will need to regroup and keep up their intensity if they want to defeat their next opponents, Latvia.

The game was actually a closely contested one for most of its duration, with neither team able to decisively pull away. Macedonia tried to put up a rally late in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter in an attempted comeback, but veteran Darjus Lavrinovic came up with a key layup to stifle the run.

Lithuania rode the shoulders of both Mantas Kalneitis and Jonas Valanciunas. Kalneitis brought a very well-rounded game, scoring 17 points while grabbing six rebounds and dishing five assists. Valanciunas’ presence in the paint was felt on both ends of the floor as he tallied 11 points and seven rebounds with one steal and two blocks.

Macedonia had to count on the solid 30 minutes put forth by Vlado Llievski who came off the bench to deliver 13 points, 4 assists and three steals. Pero Antic and Bo McCalebb were Macedonia’s only starters in double figures, with 12 and 11 points respectively.

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
The hot group of Day 2 was Group C with two one-point contest and a huge upset where host Slovenia downed Spain, the two-time defending champions.

Croatia – Georgia, 77:76
The 1,000 fans that filled the Celje, Slovenia Area on Thursday were treated with some exciting basketball, starting with a first-game barnburner between Croatia and Georgia. In the end, Croatia picked up the win on a layup with nine seconds left for their first win of the competition, while Georgia drops to 1-1 with Croatia, Czech Republic, and Spain.

Croatia got up by five deep into the first, but Georgia was able to trim the gap to two, 17:15, at the end of the frame. Georgia took the lead for the competition with just under a minute to play on a Giorgi Shermadini layup to go up 33:32. Krunoslav Simon dropped a triple to put Croatia back on top, sending the teams into the break with Croatia up 35:34.

The second half started with Georgia running off nine unanswered to get up 45:40. Croatia knotted the score at 48 on a Dario Saric layup. After a Ricky Hickman layup, Saric pulled Croatia even again, but George Tsintsadze gave Georgia a 52:50 lead heading into the fourth.

Bojan Bogdanovic gave Croatia the advantage back with emphasis as his dunk gave the Croatian crew a 57:56 lead, but it wasn’t the end of the run, by the time the Georgians scored again Croatia had put up eight straight to get up 61:56 with 6:26 to play. With just under a minute to play, Tsintsadze knotted the score at 73, but he wasn’t able to connect on an off-balanced shot at the horn with Georgia down by one, giving Croatia their first win of the tournament.

Dontaye Draper led the Croatians with 16 points, while Tsintsadze was game-high with 25 for Georgia.

Czech Republic – Poland, 69:68
Lubos Barton knocked down eight points in the final 1:49, including a triple with four seconds on the clock to give the Czech Republic a 69:68 win.

Poland got out to a huge lead, outscoring the Czechs 25:12 at the end of the first quarter. The Czech Republic countered with a similar 22:13 tally in the second, which meant that the clubs were working off a 38:34 Poland lead during their midgame strategy talk.

The clubs battled in the third with neither team getting a more than three point lead. Poland knocked two off the gap, giving them a 50:49 deficit to work with as they prepared for the final 10.

Georgia built a five point advantage midway through the fourth, only to have Poland counter with 13 unanswered points to give them a 66:58 lead with 2:41 to play. The final run came from the Czechs, who put up an 11:2 run that was capped off with Barton’s three pointer with four seconds left that gave the Czech Republic the win, 69:68.

Jan Vesely was game-high with an impressive 23R/14P double-double. Polad got 17 from Michal Ignerski.

Slovenia – Spain, 78:69
Host club Slovenia took the floor in front of 5,200 and gave them a second night of intense hoops, this time knocking off the defending champions and taking the top spot in their group with a 2-0 record. An 11:1 run deep in the fourth was what they needed to put the Spaniards away.

Spain controlled the first half with 14:9 and 19:16 quarters in their favor to take a 33:25 lead into the midgame break.

The turning point was the third frame where Slovenia outscored Spain 27:18, and also took a 52:51 lead into the last quarter off a Zoran Dragic jumper as time ran out on the quarter.

Slovenia knotted the tally at 63 and then 65, exactly midway through the final quarter. Sergio Llull hit a jumper with 3:39 to give Spain 68:67 advantage in what would be the last shot from the floor that Spain would connect on. At that point Slovenia went on an 11:1 run that gave them a 78:69 victory and a 2-0 record.

Goran Dragic knocked down a game-high 18 for Slovenia, while Marc Gasol scored 17 for Spain.

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
As close as the matches of Group C have been, Group D has provided some of the biggest blowouts thus far. Day two was no exception for the group as the average differential of Thursday’s contests was 15 points.

Finland – Sweden, 81:60
Finland continues to roll, this time putting up 21 on Sweden for a big 81:60 win to remain undefeated. The loss drops Sweden to 0-2 with a match against Russia on Saturday. Finland will square off against Italy.

The Scandinavians both came out swinging to open the contest, putting up 54 points between them in the initial 10.

The game fell apart for Sweden in the second, as they shot only 1 of 13 from the floor and only scored four points in the frame. On the other side of the court, Finland dropped in another 19, to get up 48:31 at the intermission.

The second half was fairly even, Finland added four to their advantage in the third, outscoring Sweden 19:15, and then the clubs finished the contest like they started, tallying the same amount as they tied 14:14 in the fourth to give Finland their second win 81:60.

Ferald Lee was team-high for Finland and led a group of five Fins that would score in double figures. Jeffery Taylor was game-high with 19 for Sweden.

Italy – Turkey, 90:75
Italy and Turkey were treated to a crowd of 3,000 in Koper, Slovenia, most of which were there to support the Italians.

Italy got up 22:19 after the first and then led 44:34 at the half behind a seven point second, 22:15.

Things didn’t get any better for Turkey as Italy knocked down 30 points in the third frame and even though Turkey scored 23, it was another seven points added to the 10 point gap they started with.

The Turks were able to play even with Italy in the fourth, off an 18:16 quarter, in favor of Turkey.

Pietro Aradori was game-high for the Italians with 23, while Hidayet Turkoglu and Omer Asik hit 12 each for Turkey.

Greece – Russia, 80:71
Greece used a 24:5 scoring run to put the game away, but still had to hold off a hard charging squad from Russia late in the contest to pick up their second EuroBasket 2013 win. Russia drops to 0-2 and will face Sweden on Saturday. Greece will meet Turkey in Game 3.

Russia open the game with the early lead, taking the first quarter 21:16 after Greece had gotten off to an 8:2 start. Russia closed out the first quarter hitting the final seven points.

Russia built a seven-point lead, 27:20 with 8:33 left in the second, but at that point Russia started having trouble finding basket. Greece led 41:34 at the half.

The scoring run from Greece continued after the break, with the Greek club hitting the first five points to get up 46:34. Their lead peaked at 19 during the third and sat at 15, 62:47, at the end of the quarter.

In the fourth the Greek lead grew to 22, 71:49, with 6:18 to play, but Russians went on a scoring run of their own at that point, outscoring Greece 22:7 to pull to within seven, 78:71, with 11 seconds left. The Russians basically put up too little, too late, and ran out of time, handing Greece their second win in as many games, 80:71.

Greece was led by Vassilis Spanoulis and Kostas Kaimakoglou, each with 11 points. Aleksey Shved dropped 17 points for Russia in the loss.

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]

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