The sixth and final day of group stage action at EuroBasket 2015 finished with sixteen teams heading to Lille, France, for the second round games over the weekend. France, Serbia and Greece advance with unblemished records and Lithuania was the winner of the other group. The second round matchups on Saturday are France vs. Turkey, Latvia vs. Slovenia, Greece vs. Belgium and Spain vs Poland. On Sunday it will be Serbia vs. Finland, Croatia vs. the Czech Republic, Lithuania vs. Georgia and Israel vs. Italy.
France completed a perfect run through Group A by trouncing a depleted Israel side 61-86. The result dropped Israel to 3-2 and second place in the group. Rudy Gobert posted 15 points and 10 rebounds and Joffrey Lauvergne added 14 points for France, which will face Turkey in the next round. Raviv Limonad led Israel with 13 points. Israel played without forwards Lior Eliyahu of Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem and Omri Casspi and point guard Gal Mekel of Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade. Nicolas Batum scored half the points in a 0-12 first quarter run that gave France the lead for good. The difference was 10-22 after 10 minutes and Israel never threatened again. Poland clinched third place in Montpellier with a 65-78 win over fourth place Finland. Poland took the lead for good in the third quarter. A triple from Lukasz Koszarek of Stelmet Zielona Gora gave Poland a 52-58 after three quarters, and it pulled away in the fourth with a 2-12 run capped by a triple from Przemyslaw Zamojski. Adam Waczynski led the way with 17 points, A.J. Slaughter of Banvit Bandirma scored 13 points and dished 8 assists and Mateusz Ponitka of Zielona Gora contributed with 8 points and 6 rebounds for Poland. Shawn Huff scored 17, and Petteri Koponen of Khimki Moscow Region had 14 points and 8 assists for Finland, which will face Serbia in the eighthfinals in Lille this weekend. Russia heads home with a victory after defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina 61-81 in both teams’ final game. Andrey Zubkov of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar led the Russian attack with 17 points, sharpshooter Vitaly Fridzon of CSKA Moscow scored 16 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting and his CSKA teammate Andrey Vorontsevich added 15. Bosnia stormed ahead early with a 21-2 first-quarter charge, but Russia rallied to take the lead, 22-24. The game remained close after that until Russia pushed ahead early in the fourth quarter as Zubkov scored twice and Fridzon netted a pair of free throws for Russia's first double-digit lead, 53-63. Bosnia showed little resistance after that as Russia marched to victory. Andrija Stipanovic of Trabzonspor Medical Park led Bosnia with 22 points and Elmedin Kikanovic of ALBA Berlin scored 14 in defeat.
Serbia led from start to finish and remained unbeaten to win first place in Group B in Berlin by defeating Italy 101-82. Led by 14 first quarter points from Milos Teodosic, Serbia already built a 13-point margin in the opening 10 minutes. Italy did close the deficit to 29-27 in the second quarter, but reigning Euroleague MVP Nemanja Bjelica helped Serbia to a 48-40 halftime advantage, before Bogdan Bogdanovic of Fenerbahce Istanbul and Stefan Markovic of Unicaja Malaga helped the team extend it to 63-48 midway through the third. Serbia never looked back, as Teodosic finished with 26 points and 8 assists, while Bjelica had 19 points , 8 boards and 4 assists. Miroslav Raduljica of Panathinaikos added 14 points and Bogdanovic 10 in victory. Alessandro Gentile of EA7 Emporio Armani Milan collected 19 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds for Italy, which finished third. Spain held on to defeat Germany 76-77 and clinch second place in the group. The result also eliminated Germany. After rallying back from a 12-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, Dennis Schroeder went to the line for three free throws with 3.8 seconds left and his team down 3. Schroeder made the first 2, but missed the third and Pau Gasol grabbed the rebound to seal a Spanish victory. Former Euroleague MVP Sergio Rodriguez of Euroleague champion Real Madrid led the winners with 19 points, while Gasol posted 16 points and 11 rebounds and Sergio Llull added 14 points. After an evenly matched first half, which ended with Spain ahead 38-41, the visitors started to pull away in the third quarter. Gasol and Rodriguez scored key baskets as the difference grew to double figures. All-Euroleague swingman Rudy Fernandez of Real Madrid made 2 free throws to end the quarter at 48-60. Llull hit a pair of big baskets early in the fourth, but Germany stormed back behind inspired play by FC Bayern Munich forward Paul Zipser and Maodo Lo. A pair of late threes by Dirk Nowitzki and Lo made it 72-73 with 22 seconds remaining. Germany got what it wanted with Schroeder at the line, but he failed to convert on the final shot that would have forced overtime. Schroeder finished with 26 points and 7 assists, while Lo scored 14 in defeat. Turkey finished fourth and sent Iceland home without a win after taking the final game in Berlin 111-102 after overtime. Fenerbahce Istanbul guard Bobby Dixon led Turkey with 28 points and 12 rebounds and Cedi Osman of Anadolu Efes Istanbul added 22 points for the winners. Turkey managed to hold slim leads for much of the second half, but Iceland never softened and tied it at 91-91 on a Logi Gunnarsson triple in the last season of regulation. Turkey pulled away with an 11-1 run in which five different players scored to start the extra session and closed the game out without trouble. Jakob Sigurdarson led the Iceland attack with 22 points and Haukur Palsson scored 18.
Greece claimed its fifth win by outlasting the Netherlands 68-65 in Zagreb. The result eliminated the Dutch squad. Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a double double to lead Greece, which saw every player score and play at least 10 minutes, spare Olympiacos Piraeus star Vassilis Spanoulis, who sat out. Charlon Kloof led the Netherlands with 15 points and CAI Zaragoza forward Henk Norel added 11. The Netherlands took a 6-point lead in the second quarter but Greece rebounded to take a 34-31 edge at halftime. Greece remained in control and led by as many as 11 with six minutes to go. Iceland fought back with a 0-9 run and kept it close till the end, but never caught the Greeks. Slovenia topped The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 62-51 in Zagreb to clinch third place in Group C. Macedonia was eliminated from the competition. Slovenia booked its place in the next stage after taking control early on behind 10 points from Alen Omic of Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palams and grabbing a 24-10 advantage after 10 minutes. Slovenia never relinquishing the lead, despite veteran Vlado Ilievski keeping Macedonia in it, but Zoran Dragic of Khimki led Slovenia to victory with 20 points. Omic finished with 14, while Ilievski scored 15 in defeat. Georgia kept its second round hopes alive with a 71-58 victory over Croatia, which had already advanced. The game was close for three quarters and tied three times in the fourth quarter, but Georgia reeled off 18 unanswered points – half of which came from Duda Sanadze to take total control and 67-51 with two-and-a-half minutes remaining. Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz forward Toko Shengelia scored 12 and Cedevita Zagreb guard Jacob Pullen 10 among six Georgia scorers between 10 and 12 points. Cedevita big man Luka Zoric scored 16 and Ante Tomic of FC Barcelona Lassa added 10 in defeat.
Lithuania finished atop the group at 4-1 after beating the Czech Republic 81-85 after overtime. Unicaja Malaga forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored 18 points and Zalgiris Kaunas guard Mantas Kalnietis added 15 to lead the winners. Blake Schilb of Galatasaray Istanbul posted 18 points and 8 rebounds and FC Barcelona Lassa guard Tomas Satoransky ran the show with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 15 assists. The Czechs led throughout the first half and went into the halftime break up 37-27. Lithuania came out hungry for the second half and rallied to tie it at 40-40 and eventually take its first lead. Real Madrid forward Jonas Maciulis scored 7 points in the last two minutes of the third quarter to put his side up 51-55. The Czechs came right back in the fourth – despite Fenerbahce Istanbul forward Jan Vesely fouling out early – to bring the game to the wire. Neither team scored in an exciting final two minutes of regulation to set up overtime. Lithuania pulled away in the extra session as Kalnietis and Kuzminskas each hit triples in a 0-8 run for a 72-79 edge that the Czech Republic could not overcome.
Belgium booked its place in the second stage with 71-79 win over Ukraine in Riga. Sam Van Rossom of Valencia Basket sparked a 2-14 run midway through the third quarter that gave Belgium the lead for good. Three consecutive Belgian triples, including a pair from Matt Lojeski of Olympiacos Piraeus, extended it to 56-70 three minutes into the fourth period. Ukraine came within 4 points late in the game, but Van Rossom sealed the deal in the final two minutes. Van Rossom amassed 14 points and 6 assists, Axel Hervelle of Dominion Bilbao Basket collected 10 points and 5 rebounds, and Lojeski finished with 8 in victory. Kyrylo Fesenko of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar had 20 points and 11 rebounds to pace Ukraine in its last game of the tournament. Latvia fell behind early, but turned things around in the second half to beat Estonia 75-64 and clinch a berth in the next round. Brose Baskets Bamberg guard Janis Strelnieks scored 21 points and Janis Timma of Zenit St Petersburg added 15 points to lead Latvia, which finished the stage with a 3-2 record. Estonia scored the first 11 points of the game, led 15-29 after 10 minutes and by 16 midway through the second quarter. The difference was 33-44 at halftime, but the Latvians limited their opponents to just 5 third –quarter points to wrest away control of the game. Estonia was within 2 with six minutes to go, but Latvia held on for the key win. Gregor Arbet led Estonia with 16 points.