EuroBasket – Day 1

It’s day one of Eurobasket 2013 in Slovenia. TalkBasket is here and will provide you with brief updates on each day’s play.

Group A

Israel 71-75 Great Britain

Great Britain began Eurobasket in Ljubljana with a thrilling 75-71 overtime win against Israel.

Seemingly down and out, GB scored the final five points to send the game into overtime. From there, the Brits held their nerve from the foul line with Leicester Riders’ forward Andrew Sullivan sealing the win in the last seconds.

Kyle Johnson led Great Britain with 22 points, Kieron Achara secured an impressive double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

“We came out and followed the game plan today,” said Johnson at the post-game press conference.

“We battled until the end, we didn’t hang our heads and kept chipping away.”

Afik Nissim got 17 points to lead Israel.

Belgium 57-58 Ukraine

Pooh Jeter’s three-point play with three ticks left secured a 58-57 victory over Belgium in game two.

The basket came after a vital block from Viacheslav Kravtsov on Sam van Rossom kept the game close as Belgium threatened to extend their advantage. At one point during the second quarter, they had led by as many as 12 points.

Ihor Zaystev led Ukraine with 16 points while Christophe Beghin responded with 14 for the Lions.

France 74-80 Germany

Germany dug deep against a fancied France team, beating them 80-74 as day one in Ljubljana came to a close.

Robin Benzing led the way for the Germans with 19 points in a tense affair between two teams that look like they will contest the top two spots in the group.

“Very happy with tonight’s performance,” Germany captain Heiko Schaffartzik, who chipped in with 12 points said.

“We played our own game, didn’t get rattled by playing the French who are favourites and we controlled the tempo. We fought hard.”

Tony Parker led France with 18 points after a slow start.

Group B

Latvia 86-75 Bosnia & Herzegovina

Latvia beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 86-75 in the first game of Group B.

Rolands Freimanis led the way with 24 points for the victors as they exploded into life in the second quarter to lead 43-33 at the half.

Nihad Djedovic had 19 points to lead the Bosnians.

FYR of Macedonia 80-81 Montenegro

Free throws from Tyrese Rice gave Montenegro a hard-fought 81-80 win over the FYR of Macedonia.

Bo McCalebb had the chance to win it in the dying seconds for the Montenegrins but saw his lay-up rattle agonizingly out and Gjorgjl Chekovski’s offensive tip-in miss its mark also.

Rice and Suad Sehovic both had 16 points to lead Montenegro while McCalebb had 23 to lead all scorers for the Macedonians.

Serbia 63-56 Lithuania

Serbia began Eurobasket 2013 with a solid 63-56 success over Lithuania.

Nenad Krstic led the Serbs with 20 points and he, along with the rest of the Serbian team held Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas to just two points.

Mantas Kalnietis had 17 points for Lithuania.

Group C

Georgia 84-67 Poland

Georgia pulled off an 84-67 win over Poland in Celje to get Group C underway.

Viktor Sanikidze had 23 points to lead Georgia as they held the Poles to just eight points in the second quarter to ease ahead 39-22 at the half. Poland were never able to get back into the game.

Marcin Gortat led Poland with 12 points.

Spain 68-40 Croatia

Spain began their defence of the Eurobasket crown with a convincing 68-40 demolition of Croatia.

The Spanish held their opponents to just three points in the entire fourth quarter, completely freezing Croatia’s offensive patterns.

Rudy Fernandez led a balanced attack with 15 points while Marc Gasol had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Bojan Bogdanovic had 12 points to lead Croatia.

Czech Republic 60-62 Slovenia

Bostjan Nachbar spared the hosts’ blushes with a pair of free throws with 7 seconds left as Slovenia edged outsiders Czech Republic 62-60.

Jure Balazic had 11 points to lead Slovenia, but it was a sub-par start for the hosts as the nation expects.

Washington Wizards’ Jan Vesely had 17 to lead the Czechs.

Group D

Turkey 55-61 Finland

Finland shocked Turkey 61-55 in front of around 800 Finnish fans in Koper.

Petteri Koponen and Sasu Salin each had 12 points as Finland took advantage of a woeful Turkey side who looked like they would make a last gasp attempt of a comeback but were denied thanks to a dagger three-pointer from Salin.

Ender Arslan had 12 points to lead Turkey.

Sweden 51-79 Greece

Greece began their Eurobasket campaign with an easy 79-51 win over Sweden in game two.

Vassilis Spanoulis led the Greeks, considered one of the favourites to go all the way with 13 points as a 24-8 second quarter ultimately decided the contest.

Jeffery Taylor was the only Swede in double figures with 16 points.

Russia 69-76 Italy

Italy got their campaign off to a great start with a deserved 76-69 win over Russia in the final game of the day in Koper.

25 points and eight rebounds from Luigi Datome set the tone for the Italians while Alexey Shved answered with 17 for Russia.