Israel thrashes Slovakia, secures EuroBasket spot

National team climbs to 2nd place in Group A, leapfrogging Serbia following its surprise 88-81 loss at Estonia.

September 9, 2012 01:13
1 minute read.
Omri Casspi vs. estonia 370

Omri Casspi vs. estonia 370. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

Israel effectively secured its place at the European Championships for an 11th straight time on Saturday, thrashing Slovakia 106-73 at Nokia Arena.

The national team climbed to second place in Group A with a 6-3 record, leapfrogging Serbia following its surprise 88-81 loss at Estonia.

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As a result, Israel can afford to lose its final qualifier at Serbia on Tuesday by 17 points and still progress to EuroBasket 2013 from second place in the group.

Even should it drop to a defeat by a greater margin it is set to qualify for the championships as one of the four-best third-placed finishers from the six groups as long as it doesn’t lose by 87 points or more.

The blue-and-white struggled at the start of Saturday’s game, requiring a Guy Pnini buzzer-beating three-pointer to take a 23-19 lead into the second period.

Martin Bilik’s three-pointer early in the second quarter even gave the Slovaks the lead (26-25), but the hosts were in control at the break with a seven-point cushion (49-42).

The second half quickly became an Israel procession, with the blue-and-white beginning the third frame with a 15- 3 run to clinch the win.

Omri Casspi and Lior Eliyahu led six Israel players in double-figures with 18 points each.

Eliyahu also had 12 assists and 10 rebounds to complete a triple double, with Alex Tyus contributing 16 points and 11 boards. Jozef Vojtek had 17 points for Slovakia.

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