HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Day 4 of Eurobasket lacked both star power and marquee matchups, but it was still an eventful day in Lithuania, as teams from Group C and D got back to work after a day off.
Finland 92, Bosnia and Herzegovina 64 (Boxscore)
Fueled by an efficient and balanced offense, Finland picked up their first win of Eurobasket and gave themselves a fighting chance at advancing to the second round with a blowout victory. They shot 55 percent from the field and committed just eight turnovers in about 70 possessions.
Bosnia and Herzegovina entered the game with the fourth-best offense through the first three days of Eurobasket, didn’t get much beyond Henry Domercant‘s 25 points. And by getting crushed by 28 points, they put themselves in a tough position to win any kind of tie-breaker.
Ukraine 67, Bulgaria 56 (Boxscore)
Mike Fratello got his first win as the Ukraine’s coach thanks to a stifling defense that held Bulgaria to just 28 percent shooting from the field. On the other end of the floor, Stiven Bertt and Oleksandr Kolchenko combined for 35 points on 13-for-19 shooting.
The Ukraine took control with a 10-2 run early in the second quarter. The kept increasing their lead through the third quarter, but a 13-2 run got Bulgaria to within seven with 4 1/2 minutes to go in the fourth. That’s when Kolchenko stemmed the tide with a three.
The win moves the Ukraine into fourth place in Group D. And they can move up one more spot (and put themselves in position to advance to the second round) with a win over Georgia on Sunday.
Macedonia 72, Greece 58 (Boxscore)
This one was a bit of a shocker, and it made things very interesting in Group C. Greece shot just 31 percent from the field, including an atrocious 4-for-19 from 3-point range. And you have to wonder if this is a sign that their run as one of the best teams in Europe is coming to an end.
Despite the Greeks’ poor shooting, it was just a one-point game at halftime and again early in the fourth quarter. That’s when Macedonia went on a 11-1 run to take control. Bo McCalebb scored eight of the 11 points on the run and led all scorers with 27.
Antonios Fotsis was the only guy who could make a shot for Greece, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-13 from the field. Ioannis Bourousis recorded a double-double, but made just two of his 11 shots.
Slovenia 87, Georgia 75 (Boxscore)
Slovenia recovered from an ugly start (they trailed 28-15 early in the second quarter) and put Georgia away in the fourth quarter with some clutch 3-point shooting. Jaka Lakovic led the way with 22 points, all from the line or beyond the arc. With Goran Dragic (1-for-8) struggling, Saso Ozbolt gave Slovenia a big lift, scoring 21 points off the bench.
Georgia shot better from both inside the arc and beyond it, but 21 turnovers did them in. Zaza Pachulia led his team with 22 points, but grabbed just two rebounds in 31 minutes.
Despite the absence of Boki Nachbar and a few other contributors to last year’s World Championship squad, Slovenia stands at 3-0 in Group D, with games against Belgium (0-3) and Russia (3-0) remaining. Georgia still controls its own destiny. They’re now tied for third in Group D with the Ukraine and Bulgaria at 1-2, and will play them each in the next two days.
Croatia 87, Montenegro 81 (Boxscore)
It was a three-man show for Croatia, who got big performances from Ante Tomic (26 points and eight rebounds), Marko Popovic (23 points) and Dontaye Draper (12 assists) and held on for an important win.
Croatia took a 15-point lead with a 14-3 run to start the third quarter, but Montenegro climbed all the way back to within three in the closing minutes of the fourth. It looked liked they’d have a shot to tie it, but Draper rebounded his own miss and Tomic stopped the bleeding with a short jump-hook off a pick-and-roll with Popovic.
Matched up with Draper, Omar Cook dished out eight dimes for Montenegro, but shot just 1-for-5 from the field. Nikola Pekovic also had just one field goal. Montenegro was led by Goran Jeretin, who scored 18 points off the bench.
Russia 79, Belgium 58 (Boxscore)
Russia remained perfect at Eurobasket with a comfortable win over Belgium on Saturday. The Russian bench, led by Vitaliy Fridzon‘s 22 and Andrey Vorontsevich‘s 17, scored 53 of their team’s 79 points. Starters Andrei Kirilenko (nine points on 3-for-3 from the field), Timofey Mozgov (seven points on 3-for-6) and Victor Khryapa (six points on 3-for-5) weren’t terrible, just quiet. Kirilenko (seven) and Khryapa (10) did combine for 17 rebounds.
Belgium shot just 19-for-52 from the field and just 14-for-26 from the line. They’re now 0-3 and would need to beat Slovenia or the Ukraine to avoid going home without a win.