The group phase of EuroBasket 2017 was concluded on Thursday and we are now looking forward to the Final Phase, knockout hoops which tips off on Saturday. On Thursday, there was action in Group C and Group D, but the only thing on the line was pride and position. The Final Phase line up was complete on Wednesday when Greece progressed from Group A and Ukraine from Group B. Both Group C and D were already decided through the previous round.
Reigning champs Spain ensured they passed the group phase at EuroBasket undefeated with a 64-87 victory over Hungary. A dominant 10-22 first quarter gave Spain the base for victory as the champs held the 12-point deficit at 29-41 through halftime. Hungary rarely threatened as the Spanish pulled away in the second half, including a 18-27 final act. Pau Gasol topped the win with 20 points and surpassed Tony Parker to become the all-time leading scorer in EuroBasket tournaments.
Croatia ended the groups with an emphatic 69-107 win over the Czech Republic. The Croatians topped 20 points in each frame and beat 25 points in three quarters. The demolition started with a 17-28 first quarter and through halftime the score was 40-54. The Croatian onslaught continued in the second half as the team drained 53 points to secure the win. Bojan Bogdanovic secured 25 points to pace the win.
Already qualified Montenegro finished the groups on a high with an 86-69 win over eliminated Romania. Montenegro carved a 24-19 lead through ten minutes and extended the advantage to 42-30 through the long break. In control now, Montenegro dictated the pace to stop any second half resurgence from the Romanian team.
Qualified Russia bested the United Kingdom 82-70, leaving the British team without a win at EuroBasket 2017 as they head home. The game rarely looked in doubt as Russia moved through the contest without hitting top gear. 43 points in the first half was enough for a 12-point lead and the Russians maintained their advantage up and down through the second half. Alexey Shved was an attacking force for Russia with 30 points and 7 scoring passes.
Serbia ensured top position in Group D with a 54-74 win over eliminated Belgium. The Serbian players started cold, but still edged the first frame 13-18. Serbia picked it up in the second quarter, using a 12-24 run to lead 25-42 through halftime. It was one-way traffic from there as the lead was extended in the third act. Boban Marjanovic drained 22 points in victory.
In a game between two qualified nations, Latvia topped Turkey 89-79 to take second in the group. The high-scoring first quarter was close, but Latvia edged it 24-22. The Latvians maintained their consistent scoring as Turkey fell off in the second quarter. It was enough for a 47-38 halftime advantage. Turkey offered some resistance in the third quarter, before Latvia put the game to bed in the final act.