Omri Casspi 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel coach Arik Shivek returned home in an upbeat mood on Saturday despite seeing his team record just one win from three games in its first warm-up tournament ahead of next month’s European Championships.
The blue-and-white dropped to a 79-77 defeat to Georgia in Trento, Italy on Friday, falling to a 1-2 record in the Trentino Cup.
Viktor Sanikidze scored the winning basket with one second to play, capping a 7-0 Georgia run in the final minute of action.
Omri Casspi led Israel with 20 points, with Guy Pnini scoring 15.
Sanikidze had 20 points for the winners.
Casspi also shined in Israel’s first two games in Italy, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the blueand- white’s 81-65 win over Poland on Wednesday and leading the team with 22 points and 11 boards in the tight 67-64 loss to Italy on Thursday.
Shivek rested injured starters Yotam Halperin and Alex Tyus against Georgia, but both are set to be fit for the EuroBasket tournament.
“It was important for me to let some of the bench players play more minutes because we will need them later on,” said Shivek. “Overall this was a good preparation tournament.
We are returning home a better team than we were when we left and I hope everyone will be fit for the trip to Belgium.”
Israel will play another warm-up tournament in Belgium starting from Friday, facing the hosts, as well as Poland and Italy once more, between August 16 and 20.
The national team will then play Georgia at home on August 26 and 28 in its final tune-up games before leaving for Slovenia.
Israel will face France, the runners-up from 2011, as well as Germany, Great Britain, Belgium and Ukraine in EuroBasket Group A, which will be played in Ljubljana.
The top three teams from each group will progress to the second round.
The national team opens its campaign against Great Britain on September 4, before facing Ukraine (September 5), France (September 6), Belgium (September 8) and Germany (September 9).
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