Israel guard Raviv Limonad.
(photo credit: FRANS NELISSEN)
Israel dropped to its second straight defeat to start its EuroBasket 2015 preparations on Sunday night, losing 88-83 to Ukraine in Ohrid, Macedonia.
The blue-and-white suffered a 75-58 loss to Macedonia on Friday and displayed only little improvement against Ukraine, despite making a late run to cut the margin.
Ukraine held a 43-42 lead after a tight first half and was ahead by six points (62-56) entering the fourth quarter. A 12-2 run to begin the final frame gave Ukraine a 16-point gap (74- 58), and despite closing to within five points (79-74) with 2:30 minutes to play, Israel could come no closer and dropped to another defeat.
Omri Casspi had 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Israel, which is playing without Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Yogev Ohayon, who is recovering from illness, and Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu, who remained in Israel due to personal reasons.
Gal Mekel added 15 points, six assists and six boards.
Israel will play its final game in Ohrid on Tuesday, facing the hosts once more.
The blue-and-white will play in Group A in September’s European Championships, being drawn with host and defending champion France, as well as Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland and Finland.
Governing body FIBA lifted its ban on Russia on Sunday, allowing the country to compete in next month’s championships.
FIBA disqualified the RFB on July 29 and suspended the country’s national teams from playing in international tournaments, including the European Championship which doubles as a qualifying competition for next year’s Olympics in Rio.
FIBA cited government interference in the running of Russian basketball’s governing body as the reason for slapping it with a ban.
Yulia Anikeeva was elected the RFB’s president in August 2013, but the results of the vote were later contested and a court told the federation to hold new elections.
These are due to take place on August 25 and former NBA player Andrei Kirilenko is set to stand as a candidate.Reuters contributed to this report.