Italy Hold Off Germany Again In EuroBasket See-Saw Thriller

By David Hein

Italy came back for a 10-point fourth quarter deficit before beating Germany 84-82 in overtime on Friday in Vrsac to take the early lead in Group A of the 2005 EuroBasket.

Giacomo Galanda hit two three-pointers in the extra session as Italy stretched their unbeaten winning streak against Germany in EuroBasket competitions to 11 games.

Gianluca Basile scored 12 of his 25 points as Italy went on a 15-4 fourth-quarter run to turn a 64-54 deficit into a 69-68 lead.

Gianluca Basile (Italy)
Gianluca Basile had 25 points for Italy
Dirk Nowitzki missed a desperation three at the final buzzer and finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots. But the Dallas Mavericks star shot just 4-14 from behind the three-point stripe. German center Patrick Femerling chipped in with 18 points and Pascal Roller had 14, including a three-pointer to tie the game at the end of regulation.

"It was a tough loss. When you have a chance to beat Italy and a nice little lead in the fourth, it's tough. They battled hard," German coach Dirk Bauermann said.

Germany struggled offensively in the first half, and Carlo Recalcati's team jumped to a 10-point lead at 38-28 on a driving layup by Stefano Mancinelli with less than a minute in the half.

Germany's second-half hopes brightened as Marco Pesic hit a three-pointer with five seconds left and Nowitzki hit a desperation three at the buzzer for the 38-34 halftime score.

Femerling proved too much down low over a seven-minute stretch and helped the Germans build a 64-54 lead with 7:38 left in the game.

But Italy grabbed a half-dozen offensive rebounds and Basile capped off the brilliant effort with a three-pointer to start the 15-4 run.

"That was a big possession," Dante Calabria said. "And we had good shots too and missed them. But that was a confidence builder."

"We had them where we wanted them," Germany's Sven Schultze said. "And we had the last second shot (by Nowitzki)."

Basile hit two free throws to push the lead to 74-71 before Roller hit his three-pointer with 24.7 seconds left in regulation.

In the extra session, Galanda's first three made it 81-76. Nowitzki answered to make it 81-81. But Galanda struck a second time with 34 seconds left after Nowitzki failed to block his shot.

The 2003 bronze medalists and 2004 Olympic silver medalists Italy next face Russia in the first game on Saturday followed by Germany against Ukraine.

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