Israel drops second straight qualifier to Germany

Guy Goodes’s squad threw away a 15-point lead late in the third quarter en route to a 84-80 defeat in Heidelberg.

 TOMER GINAT was Israel's best player over the home-and-home series with Germany, which saw the blue-and-white lose both games to fall to 2-2 in World Cup qualifying. (photo credit: FIBA COURTESY)
TOMER GINAT was Israel's best player over the home-and-home series with Germany, which saw the blue-and-white lose both games to fall to 2-2 in World Cup qualifying.
(photo credit: FIBA COURTESY)

Israel fell to Germany for the second time in as many games on Monday night in FIBA World Cup qualifying as the addition of Tamir Blatt from Euroleague team ALBA Berlin was not enough to will the blue-and-white to the victory.

Guy Goodes’s squad threw away a 15-point lead late in the third quarter en route to a 84-80 defeat in Heidelberg as its record dropped to 2-2 with two games remaining in late June for a chance to advance to the second round of qualifying later in the summer.

With Gal Mekel injuring his hand just prior to the game, Blatt manned the point for Israel and was able to control the tempo early on, finding Tomer Ginat and Jake Cohen for baskets over the course of the first half.

However, a strong half from Maodo Lo helped Gordon Herbert’s team take a 39-34 lead into the break.

Israel busted out in the third quarter with three-pointers aplenty, from Rafi Menco, Nimrod Levi and Blatt, while Shawn Dawson and Ginat led the visitors to a 15-point lead.

Israel guard Shawn Dawson (right) will have an important role to play in the national team’s upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers against Great Britain on Friday and at Estonia on Sunday (credit: DANNY MARON)Israel guard Shawn Dawson (right) will have an important role to play in the national team’s upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers against Great Britain on Friday and at Estonia on Sunday (credit: DANNY MARON)

But points by Christian Sengfelder and Justus Hollatz at the end of the frame cut the blue-and-white lead to 65-54 with 10 minutes to go.

Sengfelder and Michael Kessens continued to chip away at the deficit while Germany’s three Euroleague players – Johannes Theimann, Andreas Obst and Lo – pushed the hosts in front as time ticked away to snatch the narrow win and go to the top of Group D with a 3-1 record ahead of second-place Israel.

“Both games were disappointing as we were leading by 11 points and we let Germany come back in the first game and this time we lost our concentration after a 15-point lead,” Goodes said following the game. “The offensive rebounds that Germany took were crucial. We feel disappointed because we played extremely well. This is basketball and it’s a game of mistakes. We have to correct these things in June.”

Blatt also commented on the defeat.

“There’s not much to say other than it’s unfortunate. I felt we were controlling the game; I felt we were playing well. But Germany won the game in the last quarter.”

Herbert also spoke about the victory for his club.

“I don’t think we played our best basketball today but we found a way to win,” noted Germany’s coach. “I am very happy to have gone 2-0 in this window and now we go forward.”

Sengfelder, who played a key role in both victories, also reflected on the win.

“We are very happy we won and we showed a lot of character in this window.”