|02 August 2010|
Georgia laid down a clear marker as they opened their EuroBasket qualifying campaign with an 84-65 rout of Poland.
Zaza Pachulia poured in 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the charge, while George Tsintsadze and Viktor Sanikidze had 14 points each and Manuchar Markoishvili also made it to double figures with 12.
Poland, hosts of the last EuroBasket, looked good in the early going.
Thomas Kelati, making his competitive debut after gaining citizenship earlier this summer, scored the first points of the game and, after a see-saw first quarter, Poland moved into a 24-19 lead on Lukasz Koszarek's jump-shot that ended the period.
But Georgia responded and quickly turned the game in their favour, taking a 34-29 lead on Taurean Green's three-pointer midway through the second period.
Poland stuck with them, however, and trailed by just five, 45-40 at half-time.
Tsintsadze's three-pointer and a jump-shot from Pachulia saw that gap bulge to 10, 50-40 immediately after the restart and they continued to pull away as Poland's shooting touch deserted them.
Tsintsadze's jump shot with 43 seconds left in the third quarter made it 63-46 in Georgia's favour.
There was no way back for Poland, who will head home with much to consider.
Kelati was impressive with a team-leading 22 points, while Maciej Lampe added 21.
But Marcin Gortat was held to 10 and Poland were outrebounded 44-21.
Poland will need to regroup before hosting Portugal on Thursday, but Georgia will head to Belgium full of confidence.