Marco Belinelli scored 22 points as Italy continued their preparations for the EuroBasket Additional Qualifying Round by beating Canada 81-75 in a friendly in Conegliano.
In an often feisty game between two evenly-matched teams, Italy held a narrow lead almost all the way through. Canada closed the gap to four points near the end, but Italy find a little more to shut the door.
Italy used the game to work on several defensive formations as coach Carlo Recalcati gets ready to name his final squad for the EuroBaket Additional Qualifying Round campaign, in which Italy face France on Wednesday.
Jacopo Giachetti was the only other Italy player to score in double figures with 13 but the likes of Angelo Gigle and Valeria Amoroso came through with big baskets when required.
|Teemu Rannikko had 24 points in Finland's win. |
"We have done everything to take advantage and we have not quit," said captain Matteo Soragna. "We need to grow and be more solid against France, and also improve our transition."The game was marred towards the end by a brawl between Canada's Aaron Doonerkamp and Stefano Mancinelli, with several other players getting involved.
"I am sorry that it happened," Soragna added. "However, the team has responded as one and this is positive, although we did not want the incident to happen."
Jesse Young had 27 points to lead Canada, who are warming up for the FIBA Americas Championship.
Finland Top Kiwis
Finland continued their warm-ups for the EuroBasket Additional Qualifying Round with a 102-91 win over New Zealand on Sunday night.
Teemu Rannikko finihed with 24 points and Petteri Koponen added 21, while Hanno Mottola had 19 as Finland dealt a six loss in eight to the Tall Blacks, who were concluding their European tour.
New Zealand kept it close, and were down only six at the start of the fourth quarter, but Finland were able to put them away.
There is some cause for concern for Finland, however, as they were outrebounded 38-13, only saved by another lop-sided stat - a 24-10 turnover tally in their favour.
Tall Blacks captain Kirk Penney poured in 32 points, but could not find enough support from elsewhere to keep in touch with Finland
Finland face France in the AQR on Saturday.
New Zealand will now return home to a training camp in Wellington ahead of co-hosting the FIBA Oceania Championship at the back end of the month.
Ukraine Route Slovakia
Ukraine are looking in fine fettle ahead of their EuroBasket Relegation Round campaign this week, routing Slovakia twice over the course of the weekend.
Having won the opening clash 95-72, Ukraine went one better in the second game as they turned in a lop-sided 93-59 result.
Two Ukrainians collected double-doubles as they had it pretty much all their own way in the second game. Oleksiy Pecherov had 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Kirill Fesenko had 11 and 11.
"We had two very important games because we learned a lot about the team, and only now do we know who is ready to fight for us," said coach Valentyn Melnchyuk.
Melnychuk believes the margin of victory in the two games can give his players extra confidence going into Wednesday's crunch game against Hungary.
"I've seen video of Hungary, and they are a very well organized team, who players have a lot of experience," he said. "It will be difficult, but I hope we will have a little more confidence now."