Italians Out To Save 2005 EuroBasket Campaign

By David Hein

Italy look to shake off their big loss against Russia and save their 2005 EuroBasket campaign with a victory against Ukraine on Sunday in Group A.

Italian coach Carlo Recalcati said his team must come up with the energy they showed against Germany, when they overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win in overtime.

But at the same time, he said the Russian game - a 87-61 blowout - can't be just passed over.

"We have to remember this game and be angry when we play," the coach said. "And we have to begin the right way. We can't play soft."

"This was a great lesson for us. It's better it happened now than later," Italian forward Angelo Gigli said. "We have to have a reaction to this and show that this game was a mistake."

The Italians - third place in 2003 and silver medalists from the 2004 Olympics - would most like to secure Tuesday's cross over elimination game against Croatia or Turkey with a victory against Ukraine in the Millenium Center in Vrsac.

If Italy lose by 14 points, however, they are eliminated. With a defeat by less than 14 points, Italy are through if Russia beat Germany in the Group A nightcap. Should Germany win, then Ukraine would be through to the elimination game.

Ukraine (0-2) meanwhile have their own blowout to recover from, following Germany's 84-58 victory.

"We had no solution for the tall players from Germany," guard Andriy Lebediev said.

Italy's big men Roberto Chiacig, Denis Marconato and Gigli aren't as athletic as the Germans. But they are are big and strong.

Center Serhiy Lishchuk has been the sole bright spot for Ukraine (0-2), leading the team in scoring (15.5), rebounding (9.5 - 6.0 offensive boards), blocked shots (1.5) and steals (1.0). Los Angeles Lakers forward Stanislav Medvedenko has been solid, averaging 14.5 points and 4 rebounds.

But Ukraine have struggled from the outside, hitting just 22 per cent of their three-point attempts. Needing a big victory against Italy to secure third place, it would be better if the Ukrainian sharp-shooters can find their touch.

Follow Us On Twitter

Like Us On Facebook