Italy Slip Past Israel

01.08.2008

Italy won their tournament opener with a 69-67 triumph over Israel in Group B. The teams went neck-to-neck right from the tip off, but Italy entered the last minutes with a small lead it was able to maintain.

Marco Ammannato led Italy with 14 points while Lorenzo D'Ercole added 10 with seven rebounds. Israel enjoyed 23 points, five rebounds and four assists by Gal Mekel and Anton Shoutvin added 14 points and seven rebounds.  

Israel saw seven players get on the board already in the first quarter, on the way to a 20-18 lead after ten minutes.

The teams stayed close to each other, as Ammannato picked up a rhythm for Italy with 10 points. Gal Mekel stepped up for Israel to keep his team in the picture and his three-pointer before the buzzer set the half-time score on 38-36.

Mekel continued to score and dish assists to his team-mates as Israel took the lead back, but Italy was still strong in the game.

The teams entered the last quarter tied at 49-49 and looked the point breaker.

Italy connected six points in a row to force a time out by Israel, and already climbed to 61-54 but Shoutvin broke Israel's drought to keep the game alive with 4:30 on the game clock.

Mekel slashed for a lay up to make it just a two point game with two minutes to play, and after Italy doubled the lead, he did it again with 20 seconds on the clock, to set 66-64.

Both sides missed a free throw and Giovanni Tomassini showed how to make it right with two hits and just seven seconds to play, to secure the win.

Italy will take on Georgia tomorrow while Israel will look for their first win in an early game against Turkey. 


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