The opening round of qualifiers for Eurobasket 2013 in Slovenia began this week as 29 teams are all vying for the 16 spots available for the tournament which starts September 4-22 next year.
The first round of games were from 14 – 15th August.
Serbia started their qualifying campaign with a comfortable 91-78 victory over Iceland in Reykjavik. Dusko Savanovic led Serbia with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Vladimir Lucic had 16 points and seven boards for the Serbs who were without Nenad Krstic and Zoran Erceg.
Jon Stefansson led Iceland with 21 points.
Israel, who have appeared in every Eurobasket since 2001 began their quest with a 75-69 defeat away to Montenegro, despite being eight points up in the fourth period.
Montenegro rallied and sealed their come from behind win in the final 90 seconds, led by Suad Sehovic, Rochestie and Blagota Sekulic, who all had 12 points each.
“This is a very important win for us; it means a lot to us as it can raise our confidence and level of play in the qualifiers. Maybe we did not play during the entire game the way we wanted or we are capable of playing but in the last quarter we showed character, heart and desire and came to a very important victory,” Sekulic said afterwards.
Lior Eliyahu led all scorers in vain with 22 points for Israel.
Estonia put in the performance of the group though, as they breezed past the Slovak Republic 95-74 in Tallinn.
Converting on 33 out of their 59 attempts, total and hitting 50 percent from three-point land (10/20), Estonia were unstoppable as Slovak Republic were left helpless.
“We did a good job in defence and the players fought. This game provided us with emotion and self-confidence,” Estonia coach Tilt Sokk said.
Janar Telts secured a 16 point, 11 rebound double-double to lead the Estonians. Jozef Vojtek got 12 for the Slovakians.
Luxembourg 78-101 Azerbaijan
Bulgaria 78-73 Sweden
Ukraine 77-71 Hungary
Cyprus 86-89 Austria
Romania 90-84 Netherlands
Bosnia & Herzegovina 87-84 Latvia
Poland 57-64 Belgium
Albania 51-76 Switzerland
Belarus 65-73 Czech Republic
Italy 97-45 Portugal.