Day three of EuroBasket 2015 will go down as a day to remember for some and a day to forget for others. There were only six games scheduled on Monday; it was a rest day for the six teams each in Group B in Berlin and Group C in Zagreb. Of those that played, there was one overtime, multiple comebacks from double-digit deficits and a pair of buzzer-beaters. The final results saw only one team at 3-0 – France, while Group D features a four-way tie between Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania for first place, all with 2-1 records. The 12 teams that played on Monday will have Tuesday off.
France sits alone atop Group A as it lone undefeated team after seeing off Poland 69-66 on Thursday in Montpellier, France. Tony Parker, who early in the game become the all-time leading scorer in EuroBasket history, finished with 16 points, while All-Euroleague guard Nando De Colo of CSKA Moscow and Le Mans Sarthe Basket forward Mickael Gelabale added 12 each for the winners. Poland took a surprising 7-point second quarter lead, but France regained control to lead 30-26 at the break. The hosts remained ahead the rest of the way, though Poland always kept it close. Poland had a chance to tie it at the buzzer, but Marcis Gortat’s three-pointer missed. Adam Waczynski led Poland with18 points. Earlier, ALBA Berlin big man Elmedin Kikanovic was the star as Bosnia and Herzegovina came from behind to stun Israel 84-86. Kikanovic forced overtime with a three at the buzzer to make it 75-75 after 40 minutes. Israel opened the extra session with 7 straight points, but Bosnia battled back, tied it on Nemnaja Gordic free throws with 30 seconds to go and Alex Renfroe set up Kikanovic for the game-winner on the overtime buzzer. Israel seemed to have its third straight win in hand when it took a double-digit lead in the first quarter and led by 16 in the third, but Bosnia used a 0-10 run to get back and stayed close until the end. Gordic of Cedevita Zagreb paced the winners with 22 points, Kikanovic added 17, Trabzonspor Medical Park’s Andrija Stipanovic tallied 16 points and 18 rebounds and FC Bayern Munich guard Renfroe compiled 12 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals. Omri Casspi paced Israel with 29 points, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade guard Gal Mekel added 14 points and 7 assists and Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu posted 14 points and 6 assists in defeat. In the group’s early game, Finland stunned Russia 81-79 on a Petteri Koponen jumper with 3.5 seconds remaining. Russia had the ball for a final shot, but Vitaly Fridzon of CSKA Moscow missed contested three at the buzzer. The result dropped Russia to 0-3 with its three losses coming by a combined 8 points. It was an exciting back-and-forth contest with numerous lead changes and came down the final seconds. Koponen of Khimki Moscow region missed four straight jumpers over two possessions in the last 100 seconds, but stepped up to make the most important one. Besiktas JK Istanbul forward Erik Murphy paced Finland with 19 points and 7 rebounds, while Sasu Salin of Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas scored 16 and Koponen finished with 12 points and 6 assists. Fridzon scored 22 and his CSKA teammate Andrey Vorontsevich amassed 13 points and 11 rebounds for Russia.
There is a four-way tie atop Group D after Belgium and Latvia won games in Riga. Belgium bested Lithuania 74-76 on Olympiacos Piraeus scorer Matt Lojeski’s tip-in at the buzzer. Lithuania led by 6 with two minutes to go, but the Belgians finished the game with 8 unanswered points to improve to 2-1. Back-to-back threes by Jonathan Tabu and Dominion Bilbao Basket forward Axel Hervelle tied the game. Mantas Kalnietis missed a three for Lithuania with 5 seconds remaining, but Belgium raced back on the fast break and even though Valencia Basket guard Sam Van Rossom missed the layup, Lojeski was there for the game-winning tip. Lojeski scored 22 points, Tabu netted 16 and Van Rossom finished with 13 points for Belgium. Jonas Valanciunas led Lithuania with 25 points and 12 rebounds, Paulius Jankunas added 13 points and his Zalgiris teammate Kalnietis dished 13 assists. Latvia used a 0-14 second-quarter run to take the lead for good and held in the second half for a 65-72 victory over the Czech Republic. The Czech rallied to within 6 in the fourth quarter, but Latvia held strong. Janis Blums led the winner with 14 points while Janis Strelnieks of Brose Baskets Bamberg and Kaspars Berzins of Nizhny Novgorod added 11 points apiece. FC Barcelona Lassa playmaker Tomas Satoransky led the Czechs with 22 points and 9 assists and Fenerbahce Istanbul forward Jan Vesely contributed 17 points and 11 rebounds. The third game of the day in Riga was a wild one, which Estonia pulled out 71-78 for its first win. Ukraine made a run late in the second quarter and led 38-28 at halftime, however Estonia turned the game on its head with 1-18 third quarter charge to take control. Ukraine rallied in the fourth to get within 65-66 on an Ihor Zaytsev triple with 1:41 to play, but Sten Sokk scored 5 in a 0-8 Estonia response to put the game away. Gregor Arbet led the winners with 26 points. Jerome Randle scored 22 for Ukraine, which fell to 3-0.