A look at round eight of the Eurobasket qualifiers as four more teams advanced to next year’s event in Slovenia.
Serbia and Israel have stayed on course to join the party in Slovenia next September after both recorded valuable victories.
Serbia were comfortable 87-62 victors over Slovak Republic while Israel beat Iceland 92-75. Earlier in the week, they also beat the Slovakians 82-64. Both teams are tied in second place with 5-3 records but both can still qualify as the four best third place teams go through also.
Montenegro, who have already qualified kept their unbeaten record going as they defeated Estonia 76-67 to improve to 8-0. Vladimir Dasic led a balanced scoring attack for the winners with 14 points and he also corralled eight rebounds.
Germany have advanced to Eurobasket following a 79-69 home success over Bulgaria. Tibor Pleiß had one of his finest performances in a Germany shirt, pouring in 16 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. He was matched by Heiko Schaffartzik, who also had 16 points as the Germans swept Bulgaria in their two meetings.
That opened the door for Azerbaijan, who beat Sweden 82-76 in Baku. A 28 point, 13 rebound double-double from Orhan Haciyeva gave Azerbaijan the advantage as they go second with the Bulgarians third.
Austria were impressive against Hungary, winning 97-81 as they go to third in Group C.
Austria’s 21-year-old centre, Rasid Mahalbasic, turned in another solid effort with 21 points and seven rebounds.
Croatia defeated Ukraine 84-80 to seal top spot in the group. Both teams are already through to next year’s Eurobasket.
Bosnia & Herzegovina have booked their tickets to Slovenia next year following a thrilling 107-103 win away in Georgia.
Mirza Teletovic led the Bosnians with 25 points as they can now prepare for the second straight Eurobasket finals appearance.
Georgia are tied for second with Latvia after the Latvians won away in the Netherlands 86-81.
Poland are the first team to advance to Eurobasket from Group E after they ended Finland’s unbeaten run with a 96-91 win in Helsinki.
Marcin Gortat was unstoppable as he secured a double-double of 27 points and 21 rebounds, stunning the 6,540 Finnish support to silence.
Poland were aided also by Switzerland’s shock 82-73 win over Belgium in the group’s other game.
The Czech Republic can celebrate a somewhat surprising Eurobasket place after they thrashed Portugal 90-71.
David Jelinek hit five of seven shots from long range en route to a game-high 25 points for the winners, who made 12 of 22 as a team.
That win means that Turkey are in danger of missing out on next year’s event a mere three years after winning the silver medal at the world championships. They lost narrowly at home to already qualified Italy 83-82.