Elimination rounds at the EuroBasket 2017 have tipped off on Saturday at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul Turkey with first four eighthfinals matchups, as Greece, Italy, Germany and the unbeaten Slovenia emerged as the quarterfinalists.
Lithuania 64-77 Greece
Greece struggled in the group stages but shined in the eighthfinals clash against Lithuania, running away with a 64-77 victory on Saturday night. Kostas Sloukas of Fenerbahce was hot, hitting 5 of 7 three-point attempts and finishing with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos Athens scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half when Greece built its margin, and also dished 6 assists, while Kostas Papanikolaou of Olympiacos Piraeus had 11 points and 6 rebounds. For Lithuania, Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored 20 points, Jonas Valanciunas amassed 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Mantas Kalnietis of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan tallied 11 points with 7 assists. Calathes had 12 points, and All-EuroLeague forward Georgios Printezis scored 8 in the first half in which Greece led from the get-go. Greece had 30-37 at halftime, before back-to-back triples by Sloukas re-opened a double-digit advantage, 36-47. Third consecutive three by Sloukas continued the run by Greece, and Ioannis Bourousis capped it with a three-pointer of his own that made it 40-57. Jonas Maciulis and Mantas Kalnietis scored five quick points, and Lithuania rallied, getting within 59-63, but never closer than that. In the quarterfinals, Greece will face either Croatia or Russia.
Finland 57-70 Italy
Italy led all but 20 seconds of the game en route to a 57-70 win over Finland to clinch a place in the quarterfinals against the winner between Serbia and Hungary. Italy stormed out of the gate behind EuroLeague champ Luigi Datome who netted 9 points in less than 6 opening minutes. Datome and his Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul teammate Nicolo Melli hit early triples that had Italy up 7-17 midway through the first quarter, then Melli scored 7 more points that helped open 15-30 lead late in the opening stanza. Italy hit 7 of its first 12 three-point attempts, and Marco Belinelli helped increase the lead to 29-48 at halftime. The margin grew to 20 points at the start of the third quarter before Finland start to rally back. Petteri Koponen of FC Barcelona hit a triple that sparked Finland’s efforts, and his second triple cut it within 47-58 in the fourth. But Bamberg’s Daniel Hackett scored a pair of key baskets for Italy, that kept opponents at bay, as Finland never got closer than 9 points. Belinelli paced Italy with 22 points while Datome scored 15. Melli finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and Hackett collected 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in the victory. Koponen netted 13 points for Finland, and Sasu Salin of Unicaja Malaga had 11 points plus 8 rebounds in defeat.
Germany 84-81 France
Germany overcame an early double-digit deficit and hit six three-pointers in the fourth quarter to edge France 84-81 to book a place in the quarterfinals. Daniel Theis led Germany with 22 points and 7 rebounds, Dennis Schroeder had 21 points and 8 assists, while Lucca Staiger of Brose Bamberg finished with 10 points on 3-of-5 from three point land. Evan Fournier paced France with 27 points, Boris Diaw collected 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, while FC Barcelona Lassa big man Kevin Seraphin contributed with 6 points and 7 rebounds in a losing effort. Back-to-back threes from Barcelona’s Thomas Heurtel and Diaw opened an early 4-14 lead, and baskets from Joffrey Lauvergne made it 8-19 late in the first quarter. Germany caught up in the second, helped in great part by a pair of three-pointers from Staiger, who cut it within 24-29. Schroeder got it going, too, but France did stay in front and held 34-40 at halftime. Germany rallied all the way back in the third quarter, when Theis scored 7 points, including a bucket that tied it at 51-51. A triple by Bamberg’s Maodo Lo gave Germany its first lead at the start of the fourth quarter, 58-56, then Germany hit four more triples in the following 5 minutes, including one each by Staiger and FC Bayern Munich’s Danilo Barthel, helping Germany take 72-65 lead with 3:13 left. A corner-three by Theis, Germany’s sixth triple in the fourth quarter, opened a 9-point margin, but Fournier scored 6 consecutive points to set up a dramatic finish. Fournier also hit a triple with 11.8 seconds left that cut it to 81-79. After free throws on both ends, France had 7 seconds for the final possession, but Nando De Colo of CSKA Moscow missed the three at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime. In the quarterfinals, Germany will play either against the defending champion Spain, or the host nation Turkey.
Slovenia 79-55 Ukraine
Slovenia remained undefeated and became the first quarterfinalist of EuroBasket 2017 with a comfortable 79-55 win over Ukraine in the opening match of the eighthfinals on Saturday. Real Madrid duo of Luka Doncic and Anthony Randolph shined at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul, Turkey. Doncic flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, and Randolph hit 3-for-3 from three-point range, tallying 21 points. Klemen Prepelic of Levallois Metropolitans netted 14 in a victory, while Maksym Pustozvonov had 11 points in Ukraine’s final game in the tournament. Behind 10 first quarter points from Doncic, who also collected 4 rebounds in the quarter, Slovenia jumped to an early lead and held 26-17 after 10 minutes. Slovenia increased it into double digits with 6 points from Randolph before Prepelic's triple opened 38-21 margin midway through the second quarter. Slovenia held a 42-27 lead at halftime, and it broke the 20-point barrier on Randolph’s triple that made it 55-34 midway through the third quarter. Slovenia cruised the rest of the way, and now awaits the winner of the clash Latvia vs. Montenegro in the quarterfinals.