By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Experienced forward Marko Jagodic-Kuridza sank the game-winning free throw in a crazy finish sending Serbia over Latvia, 101-100, on Thursday evening.
Milos Teodosic combined 21 points with nine assists for the team led by new head coach Svetislav Pesic. Aleksa Avramovic went for 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and three steals. Jagodic-Kuridza tapped 16 points and Alen Smailagic added 15 points at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall. Rihards Lomazs dropping a game-high 33 points was not enough for Luca Banchi’s side.
A tight game at Zagreb’s Drazen Petrovic Basketball Hall as well. Jakob Cebasek completed a key four-point play for the last of 11 lead changes with 48 seconds remaining putting Slovenia on the path to the win, 76-74, over Croatia. Klemen Prepelic connected a game-high 16 points, while Edo Muric posted a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double.
At Minsk’s Sports Palace, both sides struggling from beyond the arc benefited Belarus in the big win, 84-70, over Turkey. Maksim Salash produced 26 points. Experienced center Artsiom Parakhouski had 16 points, nine rebounds, four blocks, and two assists.
Great Britain rallied from the 15-point hole to the 78-69 victory versus Greece, in the other Group B fixture. Teddy Okereafor was in charge with 19 points behind 7/9 field goals, including 4/4 triples. Tarik Phillip registered 16 points.
In another upset, Estonia defeated Germany, 69-66, in Nuremberg. Kristian Kullamae and Kaspar Treier shared a team-high 15 points, and Siim-Sander Vene contributed 14 points. Christian Sengfelder’s 21 points for the hosts went to waste.
Israel overcame an early 15-point deficit to edge Poland, 69-61, at Tel Aviv’s Shlomo Group Arena. Tomer Ginat posted an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double, while Gal Mekel and Jake Cohen also threw in 11 points each.
Alexandre Libert dropped a team-high 17 points for Belgium in the rout of Slovakia, 83-57. Sam Van Rossom added 14 points and Retin Obasohan had 12 points at Levice’s Sport Hall.
Sweden never trailed punching in the 72-62 victory versus Finland. Ludvig Hakanson and Viktor Gaddefors posted double-doubles, 22 points and ten assists, and 18 points and ten rebounds, respectively.
Slovakia – Belgium 57-83
Serbia – Latvia 101-100
Belarus – Turkey 84-70
Great Britain – Greece 78-69
Sweden – Finland 72-62
Croatia – Slovenia 74-76
Israel – Poland 69-61
Germany – Estonia 66-69
Groups E, F, G, and H openers follow Friday. The window concludes with Gameday 2 expected to feature more players of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague teams Sunday through Monday.
The top three teams of each group will advance to the next round, the last step toward the World Cup set to be take place in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan in 2023.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL