Eurobasket 2015 2nd qualifying round Day 3

Eurobasket 2015

In the aftermath of Day 3 of the second qualifying round for Eurobasket 2015, four teams have managed to remain undefeated to lead their respective groups. They are Bosnia and Herzegovina (2-0), F.Y.R. Macedonia (3-0), Latvia (3-0) and Italy (2-0).

Group A

In this three-team group Bosnia and Herzegovina managed to fend off Iceland 72-62, taking them to the top with a 2-0 record. Iceland, which defeated the United Kingdom (0-2) on Day 1 are in the middle of the pack with an even 1-1 record. Mizra Teletovic was unstoppable for the Bosnian team. The game’s top performer ended the contest with 29 points and 11 rebounds. He sparked his team’s early offense in the first quarter, as well has scored key baskets in the fourth period to quell Iceland’s attempt to challenge his team’s lead.

Group B

The Netherlands prevented Montenegro from taking a solo lead of the group with an impressive 60-65 upset on the road. There is now a three-way tie between the Netherlands, Montenegro and Israel with each nation holding 2-1 records.

An assertive 20-5 run by the Dutch squad in the second half catapulted them into the lead as the Montenegrin team was unable to regroup. Roeland Schaftenaar paced the victors with 18 points and five rebounds, while Suad Sehovic was the only player from Montenegro to hit double figures with 13 points off the bench.

Israel cruised passed Bulgaria 100-84, in an easy win. It was a strong offensive display by the visitors as their control of the pace and ability to convert high percentage shots led to their success. Omri Casspi led five other teammates in double figures with a game-high 19 points. D’or Fischer asserted his presence in the paint with 18 points and 13 boards. Aleksandar Vezenkov was Bulgaria’s top man with 18 points and five assists. Bulgaria is the only remaining winless team in the group with a 0-3 record.

Group C

In dramatic fashion, Austria’s Thomas Klepeisz converted on a last-second lay-up to seal his team’s 83-81 victory over the visiting team from Poland. He also sank two critical free throws to tie the game at 81-81, just before coming away with the steal and the drive to the hoop with one second remaining. His truly heroic efforts paid off as they allowed his time to tick off another notch in their win column. Both countries are now tied with Germany with 2-1 records. It was a thrilling game with the lead exchanging hands back and forth 14 times.

Germany totally crushed Luxembourg 109-49 in an easy win that began as early as the first quarter. The Germans never relinquished their lead nor did they allow Luxembourg to pose any threat throughout the contest. It was a balanced team effort by the winners as four German players shared the honors of being the top scorer with 12 points each.

Group D

The game between F.Y.R Macedonia and Belarus became a long-range shootout, with Macedonia emerging victorious via their nailing 16-of-30 shots from downtown to come away with the 81-70 win. Bojan Trajkovski of Macedonia paced all shooter with four treys, en route to his 17 points and seven rebounds for the night. F.Y.R. Macedonia is the only team in the group with a perfect 3-0 record. The loss sends Belarus into third place with 1-2 slate.

Belgium secured their second-place spot with their 71-50 win over the visiting Danish team, keeping their hopes of qualifying alive with a 2-1 record. Belgium busted the game wide open with an explosion in the second quarter leaving the Denmark in the dust, despite the visitors managing to keep the game close with 12-12 even score at the end of the first. The second half showed more of the same results as Belgium managed to ride the momentum they built up before the break.

Group E

Czech Republic put together a laudable team effort to overcome a 25-explosion by Hungary’s David Vojvoda to come away with the 66-63 victory. A 15-9 swing in the third period by the Czech squad was the turning point in the game. They also were able to do enough in the final quarter to hold off Hungary’s last-ditch effort. Javel Pumprla was the top performer for the Czech Republic with 14 points and seven rebounds. There is now a three-way tie for first place in the group between Czech Republic, Hungary and Georgia with identical 2-1 slates.

The only overtime game of Day 3 was filled with excitement as Georgia climbed out of a 23-point hole and stole the win from Portugal’s clutches to win the contest 91-90 (OT). Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Tornike Shengalia led the charge for their team in the second half to anchor their team’s rally. They finished with 25 and 20 points respectively.

Group F

Latvia once again proved why they are a force to be reckoned with in these second qualifying rounds. They utilized a second-half run to seal their 88-65 win over Romania, to prevail in what was a duel between two previously unbeaten teams. Latvia, at 3-0, sits atop of Group F. With this being their first loss of the competition Romania is in second place with their 2-1 record. Janis Blums’ sharpshooting from downtown (4-6) helped him lead his team to victory. He ended the game with 17 points.

Sweden dropped Slovakia to 0-3 with a 75-72 win. This is their first notch in the W column and is clearly a step in the right direction. Slovakia’s Peter Sedmak had a good game with 23 points, but he did miss four shots at the free-throw line which could have been a critical difference maker in the game. Joakim Kjellbom was excellent for Sweden and was just one assist shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine assists.

Group G

Italy secured their leadership position in the group with an easy 90-60, dominant win over Switzerland. Alessandro Gentile and Pietro Aradori scored 17 points each for Italy to lead their team. Sharpshooter Dusan Mladjan meanwhile knocked down five of his nine shots from beyond the arc for Switzerland to finish with a game-high 18 points. Switzerland’s poor shooting from close range (16-41 from 2-pt) was a big factor in the contest. Italy’s six blocks was evidence of their strong interior defense.

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