Israel routed by Portugal 69-49

Loss was Israel's 4th in 6 qualifying games and means the team ends its EuroBasket 2007 campaign last place in the group.

israel bask ball 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
israel bask ball 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Israel's EuroBasket 2007 qualication campaign ended in embarrassment on Saturday night after the national team lost to Portugal 69-49. The loss was Israel's fourth in six qualifying games and means the team ends its campaign last place in the group. Israel only managed 17 points in the second half and at one stage of the game went nine and a half minutes without scoring a single point. The team will now need to play in a last chance tournament next summer from which one more team will book its place in the European championships. Israel will hope for better fortunes next summer and that the return of the injured Tal Burstein and Meir Tapiro will help the team qualify for the European championships through the back door for a second straight time. On Saturday, Yotam Halperin was the only Israeli to score in double figures (11 points), with the entire team only scoring 17 of 46 from the field. Elvis Evora starred for the hosts scoring 27 points without missing a shot the entire game. Halperin scored Israel's first points of the game, giving the team an early 3-0 lead. The hosts went immediately on a 11-3 and took a five point lead. Israel tied the score with a Halperin three-pointer and a Matan Naor dunk with both teams continuing to trade baskets as the quarter progressed. The period ended with a last second shot by Halperin that tied the score at 18-18. The game continued to be tight during the second quarter with no side managing to open up a more than a five point lead. Two free throws by Erez Markovic at the end of the period closed the hosts lead to a single point with the half ending at 33-32 Portuguese lead. Halperin gave the team a 35-33 lead at the start of the second half, however it wouldn't last for long. Evora scored his 20th point of the game midway through the third quarter and gave his team a 47-39 lead. Israel could do nothing to slow down the hosts run and fell further behind. Two straight three pointer by Francisco Jordao which were quickly followed by two successful free throws at the end of the period gave the Portuguese a 57-39 lead. After more than nine minutes without a basket a Lior Lubin jump shot two minutes into the fourth quarter finally ended the team's drought. But Lubin's basket came far too late with the team already trailing by 20 points.