A brief round-up of round nine of the Eurobasket qualifying round as we enter the final week of games.
Israel are virtually assured a spot at next year’s Eurobasket following a comfortable 106-73 win over Slovak Republic.
Their win, coupled with Sweden’s loss to Germany meant that Israel should qualify, at worst, as one of the four best third-placed teams. Lior Eliyahu led the charge for the victors with an impressive triple-double of 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
The Israelis next opponents are Serbia who lost 88-81 away in Estonia and are now stuck in third place, facing a deciding game in order to qualify. Estonia on the other hand can qualify for next year’s Eurobasket provided that they beat Iceland and Israel can beat Serbia on the final day of qualifiers.
Montenegro, already through as group winners improved to 9-0 following a 101-92 win against Iceland despite being 22 points down at half-time. Vladimir Dasic led the winners with 38 points and 14 rebounds.
Already qualified Germany kept Sweden sweating on a Eurobasket place, beating them 91-86.
Heiko Schaffartzik led Germany with 21 points as they move to 7-0, as Sweden now must beat bottom side Luxembourg and hope that the Germans can beat Azerbaijan to have a chance.
Bulgaria’s campaign has ended and they must now wait to know their fate as they end with a record of 4-4 after a crushing 120-95 win over Luxembourg.
Roko Ukic nailed a game-winning buzzer-beater as Croatia bested Hungary 81-79.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Croats with 17 points as they go to 7-0 in an already decided group. In the other game, Ukraine ended their successful campaign with a 69-51 win against Cyprus.
Georgia have booked their spot at next year’s Eurobasket following a narrow 73-70 win over Latvia in the group’s winner take all game.
Manuchar Markoishvili led the Georgians with 17 points as they hung on despite Latvia getting two chances to send the game to overtime. Fortunately for Georgia, both three-point attempts rimmed out.
Latvia now must beat Romania in their last game to hope to finish as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Already qualified Bosnia & Herzegovina defeated Romania 93-58 in the group’s other game.
Poland ended their successful Eurobasket qualifying campaign with a comforrtable 89-59 win over Albania.
Marcin Gortat once again led from the front with an 18 point, 10 rebound double-double for the Poles; his sixth double-double in eight games.
In the other game, Belgium scraped a 71-68 win over Finland in Atwerp. Despite the result, both teams are on course for qualification with Belgium travelling to Albania and Finland hosting Switzerland.
Italy ended their campaign with a crushing 83-58 win at home to Belarus as they finish a perfect 8-0.
Danilo Gallinari led the Italians with 16 points and 12 rebounds, he also got four steals. Belarus have nothing but pride to play for now as they host Portugal in their final game.
A 21 point, 11 rebound effort from Ilkan Karaman ensured that Turkey controlled their own Eurobasket destiny after a 79-69 away in Portugal. However, they need to beat the Czech Republic in the final game to book their tickets to Slovenia otherwise they will have to finish as one of the four best third-placed teams.