Disappointment for Israel's U-20s

The blue-and-white was hoping to advance to the final four but a crucial 66-62 loss to hosts Italy ended its chances.

basketballs 88 (photo credit: )
basketballs 88
(photo credit: )
Israel's Under-20 basketball team will play in the classification games for the fifth to eighth places at the U-20 European Championships after defeating Bulgaria 85-69 on Thursday. The blue-and-white was hoping to advance to the final four of the tournament, but a crucial 66-62 loss to hosts Italy late Wednesday night ended its chances. Omri Caspi led the team against Bulgaria with 20 points and four rebounds, with Nir Matalon adding 15 points. The national team faces Turkey on Saturday and will play for fifth position the following day, should it win the game. In Wednesday night's crucial game against Italy, eight early points by Israel star Caspi helped the team to a 17-8 lead at the end of the first quarter, but four consecutive three pointers and a 13-0 Italian run gave the hosts a six point lead (28-22). After heading into the break down 37-29, Israel cut into the lead in the third period, with nine points from Yogev Ohayon bringing the team within three points (50-47) at the end of the quarter. An 11-0 Italy run at the start of the fourth period, however, ended any hope the blue-and-white had of completing a comeback and the hosts remained ahead to hold on to the important win. Ohayon ended the game with 17 points, while Daniel Gur Arie had 14 points and Caspi added 11 points, but also committed eight of Israel's 18 turnovers. Alessandro Piazza led Italy with 12 points while Giovanni Tomassini and Alberto Chiumenti each scored 11 points for the Italians, who booked their place in the semifinals.