Road to EuroBasket: round-up of the 1st qualification round, round 3

As momentum picks up in the race for the first Eurobasket 2015 spot, the Netherlands and Switzerland gained advantages while Group D gets tighter with each game played.

Group A

Romania 64-72 Iceland

Iceland picked up their first win of the group with a 72-64 road win over Romania. The win leaves the hosts with virtually no chance of top spot while Iceland’s improved slightly.

Haukur Palsson led the victors with 24 points as a strong 25-10 first quarter set the tone despite a brief third period comeback from Romania as they narrowed the deficit to just three points.

“It was a very tough game. I am very happy for my team; we made a good game tonight,” Iceland coach Peter Okvist said.

“We were able to bounce back after a poor performance against Bulgaria and I think that was the key of this victory. We played very good defence for pretty much 40 minutes which translated in a lot of fastbreak points.”

Group B

Portugal 57-59 Netherlands

The Netherlands produced a solid, all-round showing by beating Portugal 59-57 in Sines.

19 points and 7 rebounds from Robin Smeulders secured victory for the Dutch who improve to 2-0 in the group.

Joao Gomes led Portugal with 15 points.

Group C

Luxembourg 62-73 Denmark

Denmark grabbed their first win of the group with a 73-62 win in Luxembourg.

Esben Reinholt got 24 points but it was the Danes’ bench that helped secure victory with an impressive second quarter run that led them to turn a slim 21-19 lead at the end of first quarter lead into a 45-33 half-time advantage.

Samy Picard got 26 in vain for Luxembourg.

Switzerland 69-63 Austria

Switzerland are now the sole team at the top of Group C following a 69-63 win over Austria in Fribourg.

The Swiss forced 18 turnovers out of their opponents as a 14-8 burst in the final period got the job done.

“I’m very proud of all my team,” Switzerland coach Petar Aleksic said. “All the players were ready for this game. The bench players scored 50 percent of the points. We will go to Austria to win and not the keep this difference of six points.”

Austria’s Rasid Malalbasic had 15 points and 7 rebounds for the Austrians.

Group D

Slovak Republic 97-85 Belarus

The Slovak Republic blew the Group D table wide open with a 97-85 home win over Belarus, meaning that all three teams [Hungary are the other team] have one win and one loss each.

Michal Batka’s 27 points helped the Slovaks stay alive as Vitali Liuych’s 33 points for the Belarussians was not enough.

“We played as a team,” Batka said afterwards. “We’re still in the game for the qualification and beat them for success.”

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