All four groups in all four cities were hopping as 24 teams played on Saturday in the first of two 12-game days at EuroBasket 2017. Every team was playing the second of five games each in their groups. Germany and Italy emerged as undefeated co-leaders in Group B, while Spain held the same status in Group C and Russia in Group D.
Poland became a first-time winner by racing away to a 90-61 victory over Iceland in Helsinki despite being tied early in the second quarter. A. J. Slaughter of ASVEL Villeurbanne scored the next 5 points and Adam Waczynski of Unicaja Malaga added 10 more as Poland burst ahead 41-29 and continued adding to the difference for the rest of the game. Waczynski led the winners with 15 points while Slaughter had 12 and Przemyslaw Karnowski of MoraBanc Andorra 10 or the winners. Poland improved to 1-1 while Iceland is 0-2. France bounced back from its overtime loss to start the tournament by holding off Greece 87-95 thanks to a monster first half. France backed back from Greece's 5-0 star with 9 consecutive points from Evan Fournier and kept rolling from there to a 36-55 halftime lead. Fournier and Joffrey Lauvergne had 21 points each, while Nando De Colo of CSKA added 16 and Thomas Heurtel of Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 13 for the winners. Georgios Printezis of Olympiacos Piraeus scored 22 points, Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens and Kostas Sloukas of Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul 15 each for Greece. Both teams are 1-1 now. In Saturday's last Group A game, Slovenia took over sole possession of first place with a thrilling 78-81 win over host Finland. Anthony Randolph of Real Madrid stole and dunked in the last 10 seconds to seal the victory. Slovenia had led throughout the second half, but never by much, and Lauri Markkanen gave Finland its first lead in ages with a layup at 78-77 with 38 seconds left. Goran Dragic, who poured in 29 points for Slovenia, took the lead back with free throws before Randolph's steal and dunk made sure. Randolph added 10 points for the winners, while his Madrid teammate Luka Doncic had 8 and 8 rebounds.
In Tel Aviv, Germany stayed unbeaten with its second double-digit win, 57-67 over Georgia, thanks to some stellar defense late in the game. Georgia led 52-49 entering the third quarter's final minute, when a game-tying triple by Danilo Barthel of FC Bayern Munich sparked a 2-18 takeover run that spurred Germany to victory. Dennis Schroder led Germany with 23 points and Robin Benzing added 11, while Barthel led all rebounders with 7. Germany has a 2-0 record and Georgia 1-1. Stellar outside shooting made Italy a double-digit winner again as it downed Ukraine 66-78. The Italians shot 17 for 31 (55%) from the three-point line, while Ukraine made just 3 of 14 (21%) from the same distance, a difference of 42 points. Marko Belinelli led the onslaught with 6 three-pointers among his 26 points. Luigi Datome of Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul, Ariel Filloy and Pietro Aradori each hit 3 or more three-pointers, too. Daniel Hackett of Brose Bamberg ran the show for Italy with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. The game was nonetheless tight, 58-62 with 7 minutes left, but that's when Datome and Aradori made back-to-back triples to propel Italy to a 2-0 record. Ukraine fell to 0-2. Group B finished a long day with Lithuania using a monster third quarter to run past host Israel to a 73-88 win, its first. Edgaras Ulanovas of Zalgiris Kaunas led the winners with 18 points. Arturas Gudaitis of Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius came off the bench for 16 more in under 13 minutes played. His scoring was matched by Mindaugas Kuzminskas. Lithuania led 39-40 shortly after halftime before Jonas Maciulis of Real Madrid scored 5 points in a 0-12 run that broke the game open. Maciulis finished with 8 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Lithuania would outscore Israel 33-14 in the third quarter and finish it leading 51-71, plenty of margin to protect down the stretch for a first victory. Israel is now 0-2.
Montenegro bounced back from an opening-game blowout loss win this time with similar ease, 72-48, over Hungary in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket had 13 points and 7 rebounds for the winners, the same numbers as his fellow big man Nikola Vucevic. Nikola Ivanovic of Buducnost VOLI Podgorica scored 10 for Montenegro. Hungary, whose shooting woes continued, got 20 points from David Vojvoda, but his team lost tough with the lead early and never got closer again than 19-17 early in the second quarter on a layup by Adam Hanga of FC Barcelona Lassa, who returned from injury in the previous game. Montenegro's record is 1-0 and Hungary's 0-2. Spain remained dominant and unbeaten by erasing the Czech Republic from the floor early on the way to a 56-93 victory. The Spaniards led 14-33 after one quarter and 23-56 at halftime as Pau Gasol was near-perfect with just 1 missed shot among his 26 points in 20 minutes of play. Ricky Rubio added 17 points for Spain. Croatia took a share of first place by dominating host Romania 74-58 and staying unbeaten. A 28-2 first-half run was all that the visitors needed to put the game in their control. Bojan Bogdanovic was the big gun with 21 points for Croatia, while Dario Saric had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Romania fell to 0-2.
Less than 24 hours after losing a heartbreaker, Latvia came up big on offense and defense to beat Belgium 92-64 in Istanbul. Kristaps Porzingis and Janis Timma of Baskonia scored 27 points each to lead the winners, who also got 10 points from Dairis Bertans of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan. Axel Hervelle of RETAbet Bilbao Basket had 12 points for Belgium, which led 24-25 at the end of the first quarter. Porzingis's 7 points to open the second changed that until Belgium threatened again at 58-54 late in the third, but Latvia's defense allowed just 10 points in the last 11 minutes to win going away. Both teams are 1-1. Russia moved to 2-0 with a thrilling 75-72 victory over Serbian in which neither team led by more than 7 points. That happened at 10-3 of the first quarter and again at 58-51 at the end of three. Boban Marjanovic gave Serbia a brief 59-60 lead, but then 7 points in a row by Timofey Mozgov showed Russia the way to the win. Alexey Shved of Khimki Moscow Region top-scored again for the winners with 22 points, while Mozgov and Nikita Kurbanov of CSKA Moscow had 11 each. In Istanbul's final game on Saturday, host Turkey overcame Great Britain 70-84 for its first win thanks to some big-time shooting from a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion. Melih Mahmutoglu of Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul buried 7 of 11 three-pointers on the night to lead the winners with 24 points. He also dished a team-high 6 assists. It took Turkey until the end of the first quarter to seize the lead from Britain, which drew as close again as 65-70 with 6 minutes to play, but Mahmutoglu had another three-pointer and 2 assists in him as Turkey finished strong and got in the win column. Britain fell to 0-2.