Lithuania loses, still advances at Euro tourney
Lithuania advanced to the second round of the European basketball championship despite losing 78-72 to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Monday, while Germany knocked out Israel.
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- Lithuania advanced to the second round of the European basketball championship despite losing 78-72 to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Monday, while Germany knocked out Israel.
Needing to win by 10 to squeeze out Lithuania, Bosnia led 72-58 after Mirza Teletovic knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:22 left in the game. Teletovic finished with 31 points but Lithuania cut the deficit and moved on. Linas Kleiza had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Lithuania.
Croatia advanced by beating the Czech Republic 70-53. Ante Tomic had 12 points for Croatia, while Pavel Pumpria had 19 for the Czechs. Jan Vesely added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Germany, already eliminated, prevented Israel from advancing by winning 80-76. That outcome sent Belgium through.
Ukraine and Latvia had already advanced to the second round by that time.
The Ukrainians beat Britain 87-68, getting 11 points each from Ihor Zaytsev and Kyryl Natyazhko. Latvia, which got 15 points from Kristaps Janicenoks, defeated Macedonia 76-66 and eliminated a team that was in the semifinals two years ago.
On the last day of group play, defending champion Spain won its fourth in five games by beating Georgia 83-59 to reach the second round. Ricky Rubio led Spain with 16 points.
Finland beat Greece 86-77 in a match between two already-qualified teams, with Petteri Koponen scoring 29 for Finland.
Italy beat Sweden 82-79 to finish on top of Group D, with Finland second and Greece third. Italy is the only unbeaten team, with five victories.
Sweden led 63-56 late in the third quarter when Italy went on a 14-0 run to turn around the game. Italy overcame 26 points from Sweden's forward Jeffery Taylor. With star guard Marco Belinelli sitting out, Alessandro Gentile had 19 points for Italy, while Pietro Aradori scored 16.
Ukraine dominated from the start to register its fourth win in five games and eliminate Britain.
"They had a chance to advance depending on what happened but we also wanted to advance, and it was important to our players to advance by winning," Ukraine coach Mike Fratello said.
Spain trailed by one with just over three minutes left in the second quarter when Rudy Fernandez made a three-point play to put his team ahead by two. Spain then went on a 15-2 run to put away the game.
"We were aggressive on defense and found easy shots on offense. I think we did a good job on defense and that gave us consistency in the game," Rubio said.
"We always try to impose our pace, but of course that's not possible at all times. We know that we have had a good first round, with one lost game against Slovenia, so we know that we have to correct some things and we are ready for whatever is about to come."
Latvia outscored Macedonia 27-16 in the first quarter after starting the game with a 12-0 run.
"The plan was to be real aggressive, play aggressive defense. Because of that we got so many fast breaks," Latvia point guard Dairis Bertans said. "We haven't been (to the second round) for so many years and we had a really tough group this year."
Tibor Pleiss had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Germany, which also got 15 points apiece from Per Guenther and Lucca Steiger. Omri Casspi had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Israel, while Lior Eliyahu also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
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