Israel guard Yotam Halperin.
(photo credit: BULGARIAN BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION)
Israel claimed a comprehensive 90-62 win over Great Britain at the Drive-In Arena in Tel Aviv on Saturday night for its fifth straight tune-up win ahead of EuroBasket 2017.
Despite playing without Omri Casspi, Yogev Ohayon and backup center Alex Chubrevich, who has been ruled out of the European Championships with a broken finger, the blue-and-white moved to 5-0 this summer with a victory in Saturday’s closed scrimmage, per the Brits’ request.
The two sides will meet in Tel Aviv again on Sunday in what will be the national team’s first home game of the summer.
Israel led from the start on Saturday, opening a seven-point gap (27-20) by the end of the first quarter. The margin reached double-digits in the second period and the blue-and-white took a 47-35 margin into the break.
Israel took its lead past 20 points for the first time in the third frame and never looked back.
Richard Howell, Elishay Kadir and Oz Blayzer each scored 12 points for Israel.
Kavell Bigby-Williams had 16 points for the Brits.
“This was your typical closed scrimmage in which both coaches tried different lineups,” said Israel coach Erez Edelstein.
“We rested some players and we are expecting a very different game on Sunday, first and foremost because the Brits will also bring back some of their better players. We are excited as this is our first home game and we are hoping that the stands will be full.”
Yotam Halperin registered his 164th appearance for the blueand- white on Saturday, equaling the great Mickey Berkowitz in fifth place on the all-time list.
“I’m happy to have achieved this, but I’m far more concerned with our campaign this summer,” said Halperin. “We weren’t facing the most talented side, but we played well and matched their aggressiveness. We need to continue this way.”
Casspi was missing for the fourth time in the team’s five games this summer, this time due to a previously booked engagement in an event of Basketball without Borders Europe.
This is the first time that the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program is being held in Israel.
BWB Europe will bring together the top male and female players born in 2000 from across Europe to learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends and coaches and to compete against the best young players from the continent. BWB Europe will also include a variety of NBA Cares and Jr. NBA community outreach efforts with youth in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in partnership with local community organizations.
Ohayon was rested as a precaution after also missing last weekend’s games in Russia due to a leg injury.
The national team will play 10 warm-up games in total ahead of the start of the European Championships, which will be held in Israel for the first time.
The blue-and-white will face Italy, Lithuania, Germany, Georgia and Ukraine in Group B of EuroBasket 2017, with all the group games to take place at Yad Eliyahu Arena in Tel Aviv between August 31 and September 6.