Monday, September 5, 2011
Turkey hands Spain first loss
SIAULIAI, Lithuania -- After qualifying for the second round before even appearing on the court, Turkey beat Spain 65-57 on Monday to hand the defending champion its first loss of the European Championship.
Spain did not use Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, who was resting a twisted ankle, and scored only two points in the final quarter. Turkey finished the game with a 16-0 run.
Turkey was assured of going through when Britain beat Poland 88-81 earlier in the day in Group A. Spain, Turkey and host Lithuania made it through from that group.
Elsewhere, Greece booked a place in the next round by beating Croatia 74-69 in Group C. Croatia was surprisingly eliminated.
Finland beat Montenegro 71-65 in Group C, while Bulgaria defeated Georgia 79-69 in Group D.
In a Group A match between two eliminated teams, Israel edged Italy 96-95 in overtime. Already-qualified Germany edged Latvia 81-80. Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman sat out the fourth quarter.
Ukraine's 74-61 win over Belgium allowed Georgia to advance. Macedonia beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 75-63 and that result, along with Greece's win, also helped Finland go through.
Spain, Turkey, Lithuania, France, Serbia and Germany will be together in one group. Russia, Slovenia, Georgia, Macedonia, Greece and Finland will be in the other.
Russia made sure to win Group D by defeating Slovenia 65-64 on Sergey Monya's last-second shot. Both teams are through.
Head-to-head results among qualified teams count in the second round. The top three teams in each of the four groups advance. The two finalists qualify for next year's Olympics in London.
Emir Preldzic had 18 points to lead Turkey past Spain. Omer Asik contributed 12 points, while Ersan Ilyasova had 11 rebounds.
Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies had 12 points for Spain, while Felipe Reyes and Rudy Fernandez each contributed 11.
Croatia's Marko Popovic made four straight free throws to bring his team within two with 24 seconds remaining. Nikos Zisis made two for Greece, Croatia's Dontaye Draper missed a 3-point attempt, Zisis made another free throw, Ante Tomic's dunk made it a three-point game with 14 seconds on the clock.
Konstantinos Vasileiadis then made two free throws, before Draper missed a layup. Croatia got the rebound but Stanko Barac missed a jumper.
Vasileiadis and Antonios Fotsis both led Greece with 17 points each. Barac and Popovic had 14 points each for Croatia.
Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls had a double-double with 28 points and 14 rebounds for Britain. Joel Freeland added 27 points -- 14 of them in the fourth quarter -- and 11 rebounds. Dardan Berisha had 19 points for Poland.
Deng and Freeland dominated the boards and Britain had 46 rebounds for Poland's 25.
"We didn't play to our level. Freeland and Deng killed us. The last quarter, we got close, but that's not enough," said Poland coach Ales Pipan, whose team had beaten Turkey by a point a day earlier.
Thomas Kelati said the tough game against Turkey was partly to blame for Poland's loss against Britain.
"It took a lot of energy to beat a team like Turkey. I thought we had the energy, but we made mistakes, I made mistakes," said Kelati, who finished with 14 points.
Petri Virtanen made three of four free throws in the final 20 seconds for Finland to beat eliminated Montenegro.
Tuukka Kotti had a steal with seven seconds remaining to deny Montenegro a last chance.
Gerald Lee had 12 points for Finland, while Nikola Pekovic led Montenegro with 16, his only miss coming from a free throw.
Bulgaria got 25 points from California-born Earl Rowland and Kaloyan Ivanov added 15 and nine rebounds.
Georgia had 18 points and nine rebounds from Viktor Sanikidze, Marquez Haynes had 15, while Zaza Pachulia of the Atlanta Hawks had 13 points and six rebounds, but also six turnovers.
Slovenia led throughout until Monya's two-point shot, and Erazem Lorbek's desperate attempt to win with two-tenths on the clock failed.
Russia finished the group with five wins in five games, while Slovenia was 4-1. Andrey Vorontsevich led Russia with 18 points, while Slovenia's Lorbek finished with 14.