For 13 nations, Eurobasket 2015 is firmly in their minds as they aim to qualify for the event, hosted by the Ukraine.
The reward for the winner of this qualifying round gets to skip next year’s qualifying round and advance directly to Eurobaket in two years time.
Bulgaria 88-59 Iceland
Bulgaria have taken full control of Group A with an easy 88-59 win over Iceland in Varna.
Ivan Lilov led the Bulgarians with 14 points as he was one of five players to score in double-digits for the winners. A 23-13 first quarter set the tone for a comfortable victory.
“We didn’t expect it to be so easy; we watched some games of this team,” Bulgaria coach Konstantin Papazov said afterwards. “We were really serious for this game, we respected the team of Iceland, so this helped us to be very concentrated in the game.”
Jakob Sigurdarson led Iceland with 19 points.
Estonia 66-72 Portugal
Portugal began their qualifying campaign with a hard-earned 72-66 win over Estonia in Tallinn.
After a close first quarter, Portugal restricted the hosts to just 8 points in the second 43-30 lead at the break and that turned out to be the dagger for Estonia who battled hard in the fourth but it wasn’t enough.
Carlos Adrande led the Portuguese with 16 points, while Gregor Arbet had 20 for Estonia.
Denmark 72-80 Austria
A double-double from Rasid Mahalbasic gave Austria a 80-72 road win over Denmark in Horsens.
Mahalbasic had 23 points and 10 rebounds as Austria grabbed their second win in the group.
Esben Reinholt had 25 points for the winless Danes.
Luxembourg 57-75 Switzerland
Switzerland eased to a 75-57 win over minnows Luxembourg to share first place with Austria.
Dusan Mladjan’s 17 points were enough to seal the win.
Mladjan said afterwards: “We started this game very well and could keep our advantage of 20 points until the end of the game. It’s an important victory for us – we are playing for the first place in the group.”
Samy Picard led Luxembourg with 18 points, but they fall to 0-2 in the group.
Hungary 75-43 Slovak Republic
Hungary made light work of the Slovak Republic, winning 75-43 in Sopron.
The victors held the Slovaks to just five points in the first quarter and led 43-15 at the half making the result a formality.
David Vojvoda led the winners with 17 points while a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds was in vain from Peter Dorazil.