Slovenia and Lithuania clinched first place in their respective groups at EuroBasket 2017. Slovenia downed France 95-78 while Lithuania bested Germany 72-89. Greece topped Poland 85-77 and Ukraine thrashed Israel 64-88 to stay alive in the competition. Also today, Italy edged Georgia 69-71.
Slovenia stayed undefeated at EuroBasket 2017 and locked first place in Group A by downing France 95-78 in Helsinki, Finland. Slovenia finished Group A with a 5-0 record, two more wins than France. Goran Dragic paced the winners with 22 points. Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Rising Star Luka Doncic of Real Madrid added 15 and nine rebounds, Klemen Prepelic of Levallois Metropolitans had 14 points while Gasper Vidmar got 13 for Slovenia. Former EuroLeague MVP Nando De Colo led France with 16 points. Boris Diaw added 13 while Kevin Seraphin of FC Barcelona Lassa had 12 for Les Bleus. Both teams started the game at full speed but a corner triple by Jaka Blazic of Morabanc Andorra and a coast-to-coast layup by Doncic gave Slovenia a 17-13 lead. Doncic kept pacing Slovenia, getting help from Goran Dragic and Prepelic for a 28-22 lead after 10 minutes. Aleksej Nikolic of Brose Bamberg followed a triple with a jumper to make it a double-digit game, 36-26. Vidmar and an unstoppable Dragic broke the game open, 52-35, at halftime. France improved its defense after the break and a jump hook by Joffrey Lauvergne made Slovenia call timeout at 53-44. It didn't last long, however, as Doncic and his Madrid teammate Anthony Randolph led a 13-0 run that gave Slovenia a 22-point lead, 66-44, enough to control the game until the final buzzer. In a do-or-die game for fourth place, Greece stayed alive in the competition by downing Poland 95-77. Greece was fourth overall with a 2-3 record and is set to face Lithuania in the upcoming eighthfinals. Reigning EuroLeague champion Kostas Sloukas of Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul led the way with 26 points. Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens added 24 and 10 assists, All-EuroLeague forward Georgios Printezis of Olympiacos Piraeus had 14 while Ioannis Bourousis got 10 for Greece. Damian Kulig led Poland with 26 points. Adam Waczynski of Unicaja Malaga added 17. Three-pointers by Kulig and Waczynski gave Poland a 17-23 lead midway through the first quarter. Poland extended its margin to 21-29 but Kostas Papanikolaou of Olympiacos, Calathes and Sloukas fueled a 16-2 run to put Greece in charge, 37-31. An unstoppable Sloukas kept pacing Greece but a buzzer-beating floater by Waczynski fixed the halftime score at 49-43. Kulig took over after the break and a three-pointer by Lukasz Koszarek put Poland back ahead, 58-59. Ioannis Papapetrou of Olympiacos and Bourousis gave Greece fresh air, 70-67, after 30 minutes. Calathes and Sloukas controlled the game tempo throughout the fourth quarter and a three-pointer by Printezis sealed the outcome, 87-75, with a couple of minutes remaining. In a game that had to impact in the final standings, Finland downed Iceland 83-79. Finland was second no matter what and set to face Germany while Iceland was already eliminated. Lauri Markkanen led the winners with 23 points. Sasu Salin of Unicaja Malaga added 17 while Petteri Koponen of FC Barcelona Lassa each had 10 for Finland. Jon Stefansson led Iceland with 13 points. The game went down to the final three minutes, as a three-pointer by Hlynur Baeringsson tied it at 71-71. Markkanen had seven answered points for a 78-71 Finnish lead which Iceland could not overcome.
Lithuania clinched first place in Group B by topping Germany 72-89 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Lithuania finished Group B with a 4-1 record and Germany ended it at 3-2. Former 7DAYS EuroCup Rising Star Jonas Valanciunas led the winners with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Donatas Motiejunas, also a former EuroCup Rising Star, added 15 points, Edgaras Ulanovas of Zalgiris Kaunas had 11 points while Mantas Kalnietis of EA7 Emporio Armani Milan got 10 and nine assists for Lithuania. Dennis Schroeder led Germany with 26 points. Robin Benzing added 11 while Isaiah Hartenstein of Zalgiris got 10. Lithuania opened the game with a 0-6 run that Marius Grigonis of ALBA Berlin capped with a four-point play. Germany quickly recovered and four unanswered points by Danilo Barthel of FC Bayern Munich tied it at 14-14. Motiejunas and Mindaugas Kuzminskas put Lithuania back in charge, 19-23, after 10 minutes. Kalnietis and Jonas Maciulis of Real Madrid boosted the Lithuanian lead to 24-33 but Germany found a go-to guy in Schroeder, who led an 11-2 run which Hartenstein capped with an alleyoop dunk for a 43-42 edge. Kuzminskas and Adas Juskevicius gave Lithuania a 43-47 lead at halftime. Valanciunas took over after the break and a three-pointer by Kalnietis gave Lithuania a double-digit lead, 47-59. Hartenstein brought Germany closer, 60-64, but Ulanovas and Juskevicius stepped iup for a 60-72 Lithuanian lead after 30 minutes. Lituania soon boosted its margin to 60-77 and never looked back. Italy finished Group B in third place with a 3-2 record by edging Georgia 69-71 behind 15 points from Marko Belinelli. Reigning EuroLeague champion Luigi Datome added 14 while Pietro Aradori had 12 for Italy. Michael Dixon led Georgia with 29 points. Toko Shengelia of Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz added 12 while Giorgi Shermadini of Unicaja Malaga had 11 for Georgia. A rain of three-point shots gave Italy a 10-27 lead after 10 minutes. Georgia got within 30-38 at halftime but Aradori and Datome helped Italy get a 51-65 margin with over six minutes left. An unstoppable Dixon fueled a 17-2 run which he capped with a three-point shot for a 68-67 Georgian lead. Daniel Hackett of Brose Bamberg took over with the go-ahead layup, Aradori split free throws twice and Georgia had a final chance but Datome blocked Shermadini's layup almost at the buzzer. Ukraine qualified to the eighthfinals by downing Israel 64-88 in Tel Aviv. Ukraine finished Group B with a 2-3 record and is set to face Slovenia in the next round. Slava Kravtsov led the winners with 17 points and seven rebounds. Lior Eliyahu of Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem had 12 points to lead Israel. Ukraine led 16-19 after 10 minutes and boosted its to 20-41 soon after that. Ukraine outrebounded Israel by 13-27 in the first half to get a 28-46 margin at the break. Nothing changed after that, as Ukraine boosted its lead to 39-71 after 30 minutes, cruising to a truly historical win.
As such, four of the eighthfinals matchups are already determined: Germany vs. France, Finland vs. Italy, Lithuania vs. Greece and Slovenia vs. Ukraine. The other four matchups will be known tomorrow.