The qualifiers for next year’s Eurobasket continued on Saturday with 13 games as some teams look to build on their wins on Wednesday while others aim to get their campaign off-and-running.
Iceland secured their second win of the qualifiers with a surprisingly narrow 75-64 success over Cyprus in Nicosia.
Cyprus, despite going 0-2 put up a brave fight in what was a competitive encounter, which the hosts led 32-31 at the half before Iceland woke up and put their stamp on proceedings, led by Martin Hermannsson’s 21-point effort.
Belgium continued their good start to Group A by beating Switzerland 87-72 in Fribourg.
The Lions led comfortably for the majority of the contest with Retin Obasohan leading the winners with 18 points.
Germany clinched a sensational 61-59 victory on the road over Austria, despite only leading for two minutes and 12 seconds overall.
In the clutch though, Robin Benzing proved to be the hero for the Germans as he scored with 30 seconds left to give his side the lead for good. Danilo Barthel led the winners with 12 points and seven rebounds, as they improve to 2-0 and secure top spot in the group.
After a shocking opening day loss to Austria, the Netherlands responded with a comfortable 90-72 win over Denmark.
Worthy De Jong led the Dutch with 15 points.
On Mirza Teletovic’s return to the side, Bosnia & Herzegovina pulled out a thrilling 74-71 win over Sweden in Sarajevo thanks to teenage prodigy Dzanan Musa.
The youngster hammered home in transition with time winding down to hand the Bosnians the win as he ended with solid stats of 19 points and 11 rebounds. His team-mate Jusuf Nukic also hit 19 points and added 15 boards to his tally.
Poland continued their fine form as they eased past Belarus 97-79 on the road in Minsk to improve to 2-0 in Group D.
Maciej Lampe shot 10/13 from the field, en route to 25 points as they continue their unbeaten run, and leave the Belorussians without a win from their opening two games.
Estonia produced a hard-fought 76-68 win over hosts Portugal in Ovar but despite taking a seemingly comfortable 11-point advantage into half-time, they never seemed to properly pull away from their stubborn opponents who last appeared at Eurobasket back in 2011.
Rain Veideman hit 16 points for Estonia, shooting 60 percent from the floor.
In their first competitive home match, Kosovo nearly produced one of international basketball’s great shocks but unfortunately came just short, losing to Ukraine 70-63 in front of a passionate crowd in Mitrovica.
A closely fought battle came down to the final quarter and unfortunately for the brave Kosovo side, they fatigued in the final quarter, allowing Ukraine to secure the win and go 2-0 in the pool. Maxym Kornienko had 20 points to lead the victors. Justin Doellman paced Kosovo with 20 of his own.
Note: YouTube has muted the sound due to a copyrighted audio track that accompanied the game.
Slovenia have gone 2-0 in Group E with a narrow 83-76 win in Bulgaria with Goran Dragic taking control in the final two periods.
The Miami Heat guard hit 20 points, all of them coming in the third and fourth quarters as they look firmly on course to advance to next year’s Eurobasket tournament.
Group F produced two blowout victories as Montenegro scored 40 points in the second quarter on their way to a 113-73 demolition of Albania in Tirana.
Nikola Vucevic led the way with 19 points in what was a well balanced scoring attack for the unbeaten Montenegrins as six players hit double figures for the victors.
Georgia are also undefeated as they breezed past Slovak Republic 94-63 in Bratislava. Tornike Shengelia neared a double-double but had to settle for individual numbers of 18 points and nine rebounds for the winners.
Great Britain secured their first win of the qualifiers with a comfortable 96-79 win over a woeful FYR of Macedonia side in London.
Eric Boateng had a career high 18 points to lead GB as both teams go to 1-1 making the return leg on September 14 in Kavadarci an interesting contest indeed in a potential race for second.
Hungary are looking like the favourites for Group G’s top spot after they coasted to victory over Luxembourg, 89-64 in Sopron.
David Vojvoda led the victors with 17 points.