By Eurohoops Team/ [email protected]
Despite a thrilling ending, Italy can celebrate its arrival at the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Gianmarco Pozzecco’s team won 85-84 in Georgia against Toko Shengelia (15 p., 4 r., 6 a.). Marco Spissu, who had an all-around performance of 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists, was decisive in the last moments of the game from downtown.
Italy wasn’t the only team that qualified for the World Cup in Group L, as the reigning World and European champions already booked their ticket thanks to the Azzurri’s victory. However, Spain still beat the Netherlands 84-72 with 16 points by Dario Brizuela, who came off the bench. The Oranje team was carried by Olaf Schaftenaar (19 p.), who wasn’t enough.
Ukraine opened the gameday by beating Iceland 79-72 thanks to Oleksandr Lypovyy’s 16 points. Ivan Tkachenko and Volodymyr Herun added 10 rebounds a piece. The away team fan-favorite Tryggvi Hlinason recorded a monstrous double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 10/11 from the free throw line.
Already qualified Finland didn’t stop against Group J bottom team Estonia. Lassi Tuovi’s team won 91-71 with 22-year-old Mikael Jantunen exploding for 24 points and 8 rebounds. On the losing side, Artur Konontsuk was the top scorer with 13 points.
Slovenia booked the ticket for next year’s FIBA World Cup by beating an already-qualified Germany 81-75. 21-year-old floor general Ziga Samar was perfect at controlling the tempo for Aleksander Sekulic’s team, ending the game with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 12 assists. Jordan Morgan added a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds, while David Kramer’s 21 points weren’t enough.
Despite the 26-16 run in the fourth quarter by the hosts, Hungary easily beat the Czech Republic 83-69. Former Reggio Emilia teammates Marko Filipovity and Mikael Hopkins combined for 26 points, keeping the opponents away enough. However, Tomas Kyzlink (21 p.) and Ondrej Balvin (10 p., 17 r.) still managed to find some good performances.
Latvia celebrated its first qualification to a FIBA World Cup with the 79-63 win against Great Britain in front of its crowd in Riga, keeping the first place in Group I in its hands. Luca Banchi gave important minutes to every Latvian player, and Rihards Lomazs scored 15 points off the bench. London Lions’ Luke Nelson had 16 points and 8 assists for the British team.
Lithuania managed to officially find their way to the 2023 FIBA World Cup with the 65-56 victory against Montenegro in which the veteran Mindaugas Kuzminskas had 13 points. The home side got dragged by Mihailovic and Ivanovic’s 11 points each, but it wasn’t enough.
Ludde Hakanson is living a wonderful beginning of the 2022-23 season, and he proved it once again in Sweden’s 71-68 win over Israel. Bilbao’s playmaker ended the game with 29 points, while the losing side found in Rafael Menco (17 p.) its best player of the night.
Marko Guduric is clutch at the charity stripe and Serbia survived against Turkey, winning 77-76 despite Vasilije Micic’s absence. With this victory, which arrived also thanks to the 18 points of Fenerbahce’s shooting guard, Svetislav Pesic can still hope for a qualification. Scottie Wilbekin and Onuralp Bitim, both in the Turkish starting five, combined for 40 points.
The EuroBasket 2022 runner-up got its ticket to the 2023 FIBA World Cup as well. France beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 92-56 without major problems, with once again a great performance by Victor Wembanyama, who finished with 19 points. 20-year-old talent Juhann Begarin added 17 off the bench, while Kenan Kamenjas was the best scorer of the hosts with 20 points.
The day ended with yet again another qualified team for the World Cup, the sixth out of six which could get their ticket on Monday. Greece beat 72-70 Belgium on the road in a tough game. Retin Obasohan recorded a losing effort career high of 30 points with the national team. Giannoulis Larentzakis stepped up in the end and closed with 20 points, helping Nick Calathes, who had a double-double of 13 points and 10 assists.
2023 FIBA World Cup European Qualifiers:
Latvia – Great Britain 79-63
Serbia – Turkey 77-76
Belgium – Greece 70-72
1. q-Latvia 15 (7-1)
2. q-Greece 13 (5-3)
3. Serbia 13 (5-3)
4. e-Turkey 11 (3-5)
5. Belgium 10 (3-4)
6. e-Great Britain 9 (1-7)
Slovenia – Germany 81-75
Finland – Estonia 91-71
Sweden – Israel 71-68
1. q-Germany 18 (8-2)
2. q-Finland 18 (8-2)
3. q-Slovenia 17 (7-3)
4. e-Sweden 15 (5-5)
5. e-Israel 13 (3-7)
6. e-Estonia 12 (2-8)
Hungary – Czech Republic 83-69
Montenegro – Lithuania 56-65
France – Bosnia and Herzegovina 92-56
1. q-France 18 (8-2)
2. q-Lithuania 18 (8-2)
3. Montenegro 16 (6-4)
4. Bosnia-Herzegovina 15 (5-5)
5. Hungary 15 (5-5)
6. e-Czech Republic 13 (3-7)
Ukraine – Iceland 79-72
Georgia – Italy 84-85
Spain – Netherlands 84-72
1. q-Spain 15 (7-1)
2. q-Italy 14 (6-2)
3. Georgia 12 (4-4)
4. Iceland 12 (4-4)
5. Ukraine 11 (3-5)
6. e-Netherlands 8 (0-8)
q-clinched a berth
-The top three teams of each group advance to the World Cup
PHOTO CREDIT: FIBA World Cup European Qualifiers
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