Surprises continued in Day 4 of Eurobasket 2013, when Sweden beat Russia, 81-62, much to the disappointment of the clueless and arrogant new leadership of Russian Basketball Federation.
Spain 60-39 Czech Republic
Spain did what they had to do and no more in beating Czech Republic 60-39. Jelinek’s missed dunk could have tied the game at 20 when the Czechs had momentum, but Spain crept back to a 33-25 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Czechs again threatened, as Welsch’s fastbreak layup cut the gap to five. Rubio’s three quickly pushed Spain’s lead back to ten at the final break.
Hopefully the fourth quarter will prove to be the tournament’s worst, as the Czechs only managed to add two points to their total. Only Jan Vesely’s energetic, floor covering defense, together with lacklustre Spanish shooting, kept the deficit hovering in low double figures for most of the period. Rudy Fernandez top scored with 14 for Spain, while no Czech player broke double digits.
Croatia 74-70 Poland
Croatia kept their hopes alive by beating Poland 74-70 in an entertaining game.
They will be thankful for the win though as they nearly let slip a 20-point lead at one stage but came through in the last two minutes. Poland narrowed the gap to 68-67 with 1:52 left in the game but the Croats finished the stronger of the two and came away with the win.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the scoring for Croatia with 23 points. A double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds from Michal Ignerski was not enough for the Poles.
Georgia 68-72 Slovenia
Hosts Slovenia defeated Georgia 72-68 in the day’s final game but they kept their loyal green army of supporters nervous throughout.
Led by Ricky Hickman’s 19 points, Georgia kept the game close. A dunk off a Georgian turnover from Domen Lorbek took the score to 67-61 in Slovenia’s favour and sealed the game.
Lorbek led the hosts with 18 points.
Russia 61-82 Sweden
Sweden got their first win of the tournament with a comprehensive 81-62 demolition of Russia.
The Swedes held a slender lead at the half but pushed ahead in the third and fourth quarters behind Jonas Jerebko (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Jeffrey Taylor (27 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 7 steals).
The Russians struggled rebounding giving up a -13 differential and also failed to establish any inside game; they remain winless in Group C, and face a very realistic possibility of exiting after the group stage.
Italy 62-44 Finland
In a game between two previously unbeaten teams Italy pulled out a 62-44 victory in a scrappy affair.
The game opened with Sasu Salin nailing two threes for the Fins that ultimately saw them take a 17-14 lead into the first quarter break. But after that it was all downhill for Finland as they scored just 27 points across the final three quarters.
As the game progressed Finland’s attempts to come back were consistently found to be wanting with too many of their possessions ending in long, pull up jump shots and heavily contested lay-ups, with credit to a stingy Italian defence for keeping them to just 44 points.
Italy, however kept up a balanced attack throughout the game with 7 players scoring over 6 points for them, with Gigi Datome leading all scorers with 10.
Greece 84-61 Turkey
Greece secured their qualification to the next group stage by easily dispatching Turkey. The game was a matter of life and death for Turkey and they entered the court decided to put up a fight. It was a tight, to bad, offensive game in the first half of the first quarter, but by the end of it, Greece managed to pull away, 21-16.
Greece adjusted their lineups to the tall rotation of Turkey, even suing Perperoglou at SG at times. Half way through the second quarter, Turkey managed to cut the difference down to two points, but Greece regained the control again and headed to the locker rooms in front, 41-36.
Nothing was the same in the second half. Greece continued their terrific 3FG% (10/15 total) while Turkoglu scored just two points, converting two free throws while shooting 0/9 from the field. It was pretty much game over by the end of the third quarter, 64-49.
Same picture remained for both teams in the final quarter. Turkey pretty much gave up while Greece got the chance to use some reserve players such as Kavvadas.
Nikos Zisis perfectly replaced injured Spanoulis (who remained at the hotel being injured, and will probably miss the game vs Italy, as well) dishing out 11 assists while committing just a single turnover.
As for Turkey, who have been knocked out of the competition, their coach Tanjevic said it all at the press conference: “I have created a disaster.”