Israel drops tight decision to Turkey in EuroBasket prep

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August 21, 2017 05:15

Israel held an eight-point lead at the break on Sunday, but couldn’t put Turkey away and the visitors pulled ahead in the fourth quarter and held off a blue-and-white comeback in the closing minutes.

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Israel forward Omri Casspi led the national team with 18 points and 10 rebounds at Yad Eliyahu Arena

Israel forward Omri Casspi led the national team with 18 points and 10 rebounds at Yad Eliyahu Arena last night, but it wasn’t enough for the blue-andwhite, which suffered an 84-83 defeat to Turkey.. (photo credit:ADI AVISHAI)

Israel suffered its first defeat in its preparations for EuroBasket 2017 on Sunday, falling 84-83 to Turkey at Yad Eliyahu Arena after winning its previous seven games this summer.

It was the blue-and-white’s last game at Yad Eliyahu ahead of its EuroBasket opener against Italy in Tel Aviv next Thursday. Israel, which is hosting the European Championships for the first time, still has three more preparation games to play over three days in Poland starting from Thursday. The national team faces Great Britain for the third time this summer in its first game in Poland, plays Hungary the following day and comes up against the hosts in its final tune-up game on Saturday.

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Israel held an eight-point lead at the break on Sunday, but couldn’t put Turkey away and the visitors pulled ahead in the fourth quarter and held off a blue-and-white comeback in the closing minutes.

“Turnovers cost us dearly and our shot selection was also poor,” said Israel coach Erez Edelstein.

“Nevertheless, we also saw tonight that we have a team with which to go to battle. This will also give us an opportunity to learn how to recover from a defeat.”

After facing Italy in its tournament opener on August 31, Israel plays Lithuania two days later and Germany the following day. The blue-and-white will then enjoy a one-day break before facing Georgia and Ukraine on consecutive days to wrap up its group games.

Omri Casspi led Israel with 18 points and 10 rebounds, with Richard Howell adding 16 points and Yogev Ohayon scoring 13.

Israel led by a slender margin for much of the first period, but it was Turkey which had a one-point edge (25-24) after 10 minutes. The visitors were still ahead by one point (40-39) before Israel ended the second quarter with an 11-2 run to take an eight-point margin (50-42) into the break. The national team couldn’t build on the momentum though, with new Cleveland Cavalier Cidi Osman capped an 11-2 surge that moved the Turks back in front (59-58).

There was nothing to separate the teams (64-64) with 10 minutes remaining, and it would be Turkey which got the fourth frame off to the better start, opening a seven-point lead (74- 67) after holding Israel without a field goal during its run. Edelstein decided the time for experimenting was over with six-anda- half minutes remaining and the hosts down by seven points, bringing on Casspi, Lior Eliyahu and Richard Howell.

It took Casspi less than a minute to score five unanswered points to bring Israel within two (74-72), but the hosts couldn’t complete the comeback. Ohayon had a golden opportunity to tie the score with 3.8 seconds to play, but he couldn’t complete a four-point play, missing from the free-throw line after scoring a three.


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