Lior Eliyahu 248.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel capped its disappointing EuroBasket campaign with a humbling 106-80 defeat to Greece in Poznan on Wednesday.
The national team entered Wednesday's game knowing it would be flying home on Thursday regardless of the outcome of the encounter. However, that should be no excuse for its dismal display against Greece, which was also only playing for pride, as it had already wrapped up first place in the group.
The tight defeats to Croatia and Macedonia the previous two days left Israel completely heartbroken and the last thing the team wanted to do on Wednesday was to play a superior Greek side. Thursday's flight home seemed to be the only thing on Tzvika Sherf's men's mind, and his team's complacent and tired play meant the game was all but decided by the break.
The loss completed a disastrous three days in Poland and means that for the first time in 25 European Championship appearances, it has finished a tournament without a victory.
"This was a very bad tournament," said Sherf. "We need to sit down and think how we can get out of this slump. I knew this would be a difficult championship, but I expected us to play better. We should have beaten both Croatia and Macedonia, but we failed when it mattered most."
Lior Eliyahu led Israel with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists on Wednesday, with Raviv Limonad the team's only other player to reach double-figures, scoring 15 points.
"We entered this game with no energy and there was nothing we could do," Eliyahu said. "We lost two close games and had we won one of them everything would have been different."
Vasileios Spanoulis led five Greeks in double-figures, scoring 18 points.
Israel took a 4-0 lead at the start of the game, which was played at a leisurely pace.
However, the Greeks would soon seize the initiative and dominate proceedings. Spanoulis' lay-up to beat the buzzer gave Greece a 31-25 advantage after 10 minutes and the gap would only continue to grow in the second period.
Ioannis Kalampokis' basket opened a double-digit margin (50-40) and the Greeks led 56-42 at the break.
The second half was no different to the first, with both teams just going through the motions, winding down the clock until the inevitable outcome.
Georgios Printezis' three-pointer with 3:51 to play in the third quarter extended the Greeks lead to 20 points (71-51) and embarrassingly for Israel, the rest of the game was pure garbage time.