Lior Eliyahu 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Israel arrived in Slovakia on Wednesday in an upbeat mood after finally claiming
its first win of EuroBasket 2013 qualification in Iceland the previous
The national team raced into a double-digit lead in the first
quarter, and unlike in its previous games against Montenegro and Estonia, kept
its foot on the gas in the second half to record a comfortable 110-83 win over
Israel passed a total of 34 assists, more than in the defeats
against Montenegro and Estonia combined, and its 110 points are equal to the
team’s highest total over the past 15 years.
However, with all due
respect to Iceland, Israel will have to overcome far tougher opponents if it is
to recover from its 0-2 start to the campaign and make an 11th consecutive
appearance at the European Championships.
Israel will be aiming to gain
more confidence with another easy win at Group A’s weakest team Slovakia on
Friday before turning its attention to next week’s crucial home encounters
against group leaders Serbia and Montenegro.
“I won’t lie, we were under
pressure ahead of the game against Iceland,” Israel coach Arik Shivek said.
“What happened against Estonia was an accident and we also could have won at
Montenegro. We had to win in Iceland and I’m happy with our team
Casspi is a great player and wonderful guy, but everyone
understood that we will only win if we play like a team and the number of
assists shows we did that.”
Casspi scored 17 points for Israel, once more
impressing from beyond the arc with four three-pointers without a miss, while
Raviv Limonad also netted 17 for the blue-and-white.
“We needed this win
to get back on track,” said Limonad. “We now must keep our foot on the gas until
the end of the campaign.”