France 76-53 Turkey
Day 1 of the eighthfinals saw Latvia, France, Spain and Greece qualify to the EuroBasket 2015 quarterfinals in Lille. On Tuesday, France will face Latvia while Greece will go against Spain. France beat Turkey 76-53 behind 15 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists from All-Euroleague guard Nando De Colo of CSKA Moscow. Evan Fournier and Joffrey Lauvergne each had 12 while Nicola Batum added 10 for France. Ersan Ilyasova led Turkey with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Ilyasova and Bobby Dixon of Fenerbahce Istanbul shined early to give Turkey a 5-6 lead. De Colo stepped up with consecutive three-pointers and got help from Rudy Gobert and Batum to give Les Bleus a 17-10 lead. It didn't last long, however, as Ilyasova and Dixon struck from downtown in an 0-8 run which made Turkey regain the lead, 17-18, after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Cedi Osman of Anadolu Efes Istanbul soon boosted the guests' lead to 19-23. France improved its defense whle Mickael Gelabale of Le Mans Sarthe Basket, Fournier and Lauvergne fueled a 14-0 run which made it a double-digit game, 36-26, at halftime. Osman and Ilyasova took over after the break and a three-pointer by Sinan Guler of Galatasaray Istanbul gave Turkey hope at 43-36. Tony Parker stepped up for Les Bleus and an outstanding De Colo kept his team out of trouble, 51-38. Gelabale and De Colo allowed France to break the game open, 59-40, after 30 minutes. Nothing changed after that, as France improved its margin to 64-42 with 7 minutes left and cruised to a convincing win.
Spain 80-66 Poland
Spain had to battle hard to defeat Poland 80-66 and advance to the quarterfinals. Spain will face Greece on Tuesday for a spot in the semifinals. Pau Gasol led the winners with 30 points on 6-of-7 three-point shots. Former two-time Euroleague Rising Star Nikola Mirotic added 15 while reigning Euroleague champion Sergio Llull of Real Madrid had 12 for Spain, that was without injured star Rudy Fernandez of Real Madrid. Damian Kulig of Trabzonspor Medical Park led Poland with 10 points. Pau Ribas of FC Barcelona Lassa and Llull fueled a 10-0 run which allowed Spain to get a 10-4 lead. A.J. Slaughter of Banvit Bandirma and Kulig stepped up for Poland and an off-balance layup by Mateusz Ponitka of Stelmet Zielona Gora tied it at 15-15. Gasol rescued Spain with back-to-back baskets and a three-pointer which Llull followed with free throws for a 25-20 Spanish lead after 10 minutes. Przemyslaw Karnowski led a 0-7 run which put Poland back ahead, 25-27. Gasol and Victor Claver of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar struck from downtown to make Poland call timeout at 36-31. Kulig and Ponitka brought Poland within 41-39 at halftime. A driving layup by Ponitka gave Poland a 41-43 edge right after the break. Spain found a new go-to guy in Mirotic but Poland kept attacking the rim and scoring fluently. Free throws by Gasol restored a 52-50 Spanish edge. Przemyslaw Zamojski of Zielona Gora and Aaron Cel made Poland tie it again, 55-55, after 30 minutes. Llull, Sergio Rodriguez and Felipe Reyes fueled a 7-0 run that gave Spain some fresh air at 62-55. Gasol beat the shot clock with a key triple and a layup by Rodriguez made ir a double-digit game, 67-57, midway through the fourth quarter. Back-to-back three-pointers by Gasol made Spain seal the win in style, as Poland never recovered.
Greece 75-54 Belgium
Greece did not find much trouble to down Belgium 75-54 and advance to the quarterfinals. Reigning Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Ioannis Bourousis led the winners with 14 points. Kostas Koufos added 13 while Georgios Printezis and Giannis Antetokounmpo each had 10 for Greece. Pierre-Antoine Gillet led Belgium with 14 points. Sam Van Rossom of Valencia Basket added 13 while Matt Lojeski of Olympiacos had 10. Lojeski got Belgium going with a three-pointer and Van Rossom soon added a coast-to-coast layup for a 5-5 tie. Greece found an early go-to guy in Koufos, who got help from Printezis to give Greece a 12-9 lead. Lojeski nailed a triple off a screen but Nick Calathes of Panathinaios Athens allowed Greece to regain a 16-15 edge after 10 minutes. Bourousis scored down low, igniting a 7-0 lead which Nikos Zisis of Brose Baskets capped with a big tripe for a 23-15 Greek lead. Axel Hervelle of Dominion Bilbao Basket and Jonathan Tabu tried to change things for Belgium but Zisis and Koufos kept Greece in charge, 28-23. Van Rossom stepped up for Belgium but free throws by Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos gave his team a 34-31 edge at the break. Spanoulis stepped up after the break and forced Belgium to enter the foul penalty way too early. Greece took full advantage of it, as Kostas Sloukas of Fenerbahce Ulker gave his team a 44-36 edge. A jumper by Spanoulis soon made Belgium call timeout ay 51-41. Greece boosted its margin to 57-42 at the end of the third quarter and then again to 65-42 with under 6 minutes left, enough to seal the outcome.
Latvia 73-66 Slovenia
Latvia stormed into the EuroBasket 2015 quarterfinals by knocking off Slovenia 73-66 in the first game of the eighthfinals in Lille. Janis Strelnieks of Brose Baskets Bamberg paced the winners with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists while Kaspars Berzins of Nizhny Novgorod added 13 points for Latvia. Zoran Dragic of Khimki Moscow Region led Slovenia with 17 points. Dairis Bertans of Dominion Bilbao Basket needed just 5 seconds to detonate a three-point shot but Slovenia shook off a slow start and a driving layup by Jaka Blazic of Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade gave his national team a 7-9 lead. Rolands Freimanis of Unics Kazan stepped up for Latvia and a six-meter jumper by Berzins boosted his team's lead to 13-9. Dragic and Lazic allowed Slovenia to regain the lead but a three-pointer by Strelnieks tied it at 20-20 after 10 minutes. Miha Zupan and an unstoppable Dragic kept Slovenia ahead, 27-29, midway through the second quarter. A 9-0 run which Bertans capped with a triple gave Latvia a 36-29 edge. Jaka Klobucar and Klemen Prepelic of Union Olimpija Ljubljana answered from downtown and Jure Balazic soon tied it again, 40-40, but a step-back jumper by Janis Blums put Latvia back ahead, 42-40, at halftime. Strelnieks shined after the break to make it a six-point game, 50-44. Zupan and Uros Slokar kept Slovenia as close as 53-52 after 30 minutes. Strelnieks stayed on fire and got help from Kristaps Janicenoks to keep Latvia ahead, 62-57, with under 6 minutes left. A three-pointer by Berzins soon made it a double-digit game, 67-57, and Slovenia never recovered after that. Strelnieks rounded his great game with a game-clinching jumper with a minute left.