Italy used a pair of big runs to take a 73-62 win that leaves Israel winless in the qualifying round at Rethimnon today.
The result means that Italy will most likely finish fourth in Group E and are definitely in the top eight.
|Alessandro Amici had 13 in Italy's win. |
Meanwhile, the defeat sees Israel join Latvia and Ukraine in the battle for places 9-12.
Simone Centanni and Eros Chinellato combined for 12 first-half points and spearheaded an early 20-2 run that saw Italy go from 9-8 up to 29-10 ahead at the end of the first quarter.
Danny Franco’s men used a 7-0 spurt in the opening minutes of the second period to close the gap to 12, 31-19, on a basket by Guy Dotan, but Italy stayed firmly in control, going in at the half with a comfortable 40-27 lead.
Israel never made a serious run in the second half and Chinellato proved instrumental once again as Italy used a 10-0 run to go up by 24, 61-37, on Andrea De Nicolao’s pair of free-throws late in the third period.
Nicolo Melli opened the final frame with a fastbreak dunk for a 63-40 score and, even though Israel came back to within 11, Italy ran the clock out to secure the result.
‘We have been able to play consistently well over the last couple of games so this is an encouraging result,’ said Alessandro Amici, who led a balanced offense with 13 points for Italy.
‘Israel are a very unpredictable team, the hardest to predict in this tournament. They are capable of playing great one game and poorly the next. So this is a big win for us.’
Franco admitted that the first quarter run by Italy is what decided the game.
‘They [Italy] had a great run in that first quarter but if you look at the stats, after that, it’s quite even in the rest of the game,’ he said
‘I’m not sure what went wrong today. But now we have to turn our attention to getting ninth place. We will rest tomorrow and then be ready for the weekend’s games.’
Assaf Ohana had 11 points for Israel and Carmel Bouchman contributed a double double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.