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Blue-and-white ends warm-ups with win over Latvia

August 3, 2014 23:27

The blue-and-white will go into next Sunday’s European Championship qualifier against Montenegro in Nicosia, Cyprus brimming with confidence.

Omri Casspi

Omri Casspi was superb in Israel’s 94-86 victory over Latvia in Bamberg last night, finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds.. (photo credit:GERMAN BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION)

Israel recorded another encouraging victory in its final warm-up game ahead of the start of its EuroBasket qualifying campaign next week, beating Latvia 94-86 in Bamberg, Germany on Sunday.

The blue-and-white will be heading into next Sunday’s European Championship qualifier against Montenegro in Nicosia, Cyprus brimming with confidence after securing its second win in as many days in Bamberg.

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After overcoming Germany 91-84 on Saturday, the national team impressed on the offensive end yet again against Latvia, hitting 33-of-49 two-point shots (67 percent).

Omri Casspi was the star of the show once more, finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Lior Eliyahu continued his recovery from a broken thumb with 17 points, while Gal Mekel contributed 15 points and six assists and Yaniv Green added 15 points and five rebounds.

A tight first half on Sunday ended in a five-point Latvia lead (42-37). However, Casspi led Israel to a 14-3 run in the third quarter, opening a 12-point gap (66-54).

Latvia closed to within six points (85-79) with 3:30 minutes to play thanks to a 16-4 surge, prompting Edelstein to send Casspi back to the floor to clinch the win.

Following the first qualifier against Montenegro on August 10, Israel will play three consecutive road games versus the Netherlands (Aug 13), Bulgaria (Aug 17) and Montenegro (Aug 20). It will then finish the campaign with two home encounters against the Netherlands (August 24) and Bulgaria (August 27), with FIBA Europe to determine on Monday if those contests can go ahead in Israel or will also have to be moved abroad.

The seven group winners, as well as the six-best second-place finishers, will advance directly to next summer’s tournament in Ukraine.
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