Review by Christos T. Panagopoulos
Slovenia – Spain 78-69
Slovenia outmuscle defending champions of EuroBasket. The hosts posted a 78:69 win against Spain in Day 2. Both teams entered their openers and looked forward achieving their second straight win. Marc Gasol (216-C-85, agency: Interperformances) and Dragic scored the first points for both teams and then Lakovic nailed three for 9:9. Rubio and Marc Gasol brought 14:9 for Spain at the end of the first period and led 19:12 early in the second period. The host however created an 8-0 run as Bostjan Nachbar (207-PF-80) nailed three for 20:19 advantage. Spain meanwhile managed to score some important baskets at the end of the first half to take 33:25 lead after 2 quarters. Bostjan Nachbar and Dragic reduced to 39:34 midway through the third period. Marc Gasol made two free throws for 44:39 and Begic brought Slovenia within two points. The latter also gave the hosts a 48:47 lead, while Dragic closed the period at 52:51. Both teams started the last quarter offensively and scored four three pointers in a row. Slovenia dominated the end of the game and posted a 6-0 run to seal the second straight win. Goran Dragic (190-PG-86) stepped up with 18 points and Bostjan Nachbar posted 14. Zoran Dragic chipped in with 12, whilst Jaka Lakovic put up 7. Marc Gasol answered with 17 points in defeat and Jose Manuel Calderon (192-PG-81) produced 14. Sergio Rodriguez scored 7 and Ricky Rubio brought 6 points.
Poland – Czech Republic 68-69
Czech Republic faced another heart-stopping challenge at EuroBasket. But this time they executed to perfection and eked out a tough win over Poland in the second day of action at the European Championship. Lubos Barton (202-SF-80, college: Valparaiso) drilled a key three-pointer with 4 seconds to go in regulation to propel Czech Republic to the initial win at the tournament. Poland had to surrender for the second straight time in Slovenia. Poland looked well in control throughout the opening quarter. They went on a 21:7 run to gain a 25:12 lead after ten minutes of action. Czech Republic improved their defence in the second frame. They cut the deficit as Welsch and Jan Vesely (211-F-90) dragged them within 4 points at halftime 34:38. Czech Republic opened the third frame on a 6:2 run to level things up at 40. Czech Republic pulled ahead soon and finished the period up by one point 49:50. Michal Ignerski (207-F-80, agency: Stanley International, college: Mississippi St.) triggered a 13:0 run from Poland as they earned a 66:58 lead with under three minutes to go in regulation. But Jan Vesely and Lubos Barton dragged Czech Republic within four. Lubos Barton drained a three-pointer to put the Czech team within two points 65:67. Jan Vesely sank one free throw to narrow the gap at just one point 66:67 with 10 seconds to go. Maciej Lampe got fouled but converted just one free throw giving a chance for Czech Republic. And they used it. Lubos Barton hit a three-pointer and won the game for the Czechs. Lubos Barton and Tomas Satoransky (201-PG-91) netted 10 points each for the winners. Michal Ignerski answered with 17 points for Poland. Maciej Lampe tossed in 14 points and grabbed 7 boards in the loss.
Croatia – Georgia 77-76
Ante Tomic (217-C-87, agency: XL Basketball Agency) converted a layup with 9 seconds remaining in regulation to carry Croatia past Georgia in the opening game of the second day at 2013 EuroBasket. Dontaye Draper (180-PG-84, college: Charleston) nailed 16 points to lead the winners to the initial success at the tournament. Georgia fell at 1-1 record at the tournament. It was as close game as it could get. The teams stayed neck and neck throughout the first half. Croatia eked out a 15:10 lead late in the first period. But Georgia narrowed the deficit at just 2 points at the first break 15:17. Draper and Dario Saric boosted the gap early in the second frame. Bojan Bogdanovic made it 28:22 for Croatia midway through the second term. But Richard Hickman triggered a comeback rally from Georgia and Shermadini gave them a 33:32 lead late in the half. Simon responded with a triple to restore a narrow lead for Croatia as they arrived at halftime up by one 35:34. A close encounter continued throughout the third term. The lead changed hands for several times before Georgi Tsintsadze (192-PG-86) gave Georgia a 52:50 lead heading into the final frame. But Bojan Bogdanovic and Markota quickly put Croatia in front early in the fourth stanza. The teams entered the final 100 seconds of the game tied at 70. Markota sank a three-pointer to put Croatia in front 73:70. Georgi Tsintsadze came up with three points to level things up. Tomic answered with two free throws to give Croatia a 75:73 advantage. But Sanikidze held his nerve draining a three-pointer for a 76:75 Georgian lead with 21 seconds remaining. Antic answered with a layup and then Georgi Tsintsadze missed a layup as Croatia got away with a tough victory. Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 15 points, while Dario Saric added 12 points for the winners. Georgi Tsintsadze answered with 25 points for Georgia. Richard Hickman had 20 points in the loss.