The closing day of the Preliminary Round decided all the 8 spots for the Qualifying Round as Israel and Montenegro joined Belgium on the list of unbeaten teams. Other qualifiers are Austria, England, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland and the Czech Republic.
|Tomer Ber Aven and Israel are still in the race for a ticket to Division A|
Group A was decided in favor of Finland and Czech Republic after Netherlands dropped their game against the Slovak Republic early in the day, and Finland beat the Czechs.
The Slovak team wrote their debut win and dropped Netherlands to 2-2, after a 47-45 win. Benjamin Ime Jegen scored 15 points for the losing side but missed a three pointer right before the buzzer that could have made a huge difference.
Finland had to beat the Czechs to make it, and with that won the group as both sides share a 4-1 record. They won 65-55 after taking the lead from the start as Villematti Kopio led the winners with 18 points and 6 assists, while the Czech side saw Ondrej Balvin collected 8 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks.
In Group B Belgium was secured the first place already, and rested today while the other four teams fought for the 2nd ticket.
When the smoke cleared, right at the finish line, Bosnia and Herzegovina finished 2nd tied with Scotland with a 2-2 record but won the tie-breaker after beating them earlier in this stage.
Bosnia and Herzegovina edged Hungary 61-59 behind 21 points by Mirza Bulic to capture the ticket to the Qualifying Round.
Earlier today Scotland stopped Portugal with a 71-58 win as Alasdair Fraser marked 29 points and added 11 rebounds. Scotland would have qualified if Hungary had won, but eventually will settle for the 3rd spot.
The action in Group C presented Israel punishing Belarus 95-76 to win the group with a perfect 4-0 record as Guy Lavie scored 31 points, stole 6 balls and grabbed 5 rebounds while Noam Laish added 19 and Sean Labanowski 17 and 8 rebounds. Vitaly Liutych topped the sheet for the losing side with 16 points together with Henadziy Zakhar who had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Another team to enjoy this result was England who won the second place with a 3-1 record held already before today, while Belarus dropped to 2-2.
In the other game in the group two teams with no wins met, and Denmark beat Romania 80-72 to take their first victory in the championship. Anders Haas and Kevin Larsen scored 22 points each.
"Today we played against a very good team," said Thomas Quaade from Denmark.
"They came with a lot of passion and played well together. In the second half we had a fitness advantage on them and it worked good for us."
In Group D Estonia and Montenegro clinched the ticket to the Qualifying Round already yesterday and after today's games it was Montenegro who won the top seed after a 68-60 win over Georgia, who finished the group with the opposite 0-4 record. Radosav Spasojevic scored 21 points and added 11 rebounds for the winners.
Austria beat Luxembourg earlier today 74-66 in a game that didn't make any difference as both teams will play for the 9th place.
"We were very lucky today. They played very good in the 1st half but in the 2nd half they got tired and we improved our game and made better choices," concluded Sollner Pietmar of the Austrian bench.