7th-8th Place Game: Greece 89 Israel 82
In the preliminary round Israel managed to surprise Greece and forced them to fight until the very last second of the group B games to earn the top 8 spot. Today Greece got its revenge, although Israel wasn’t far from another surprise.
The Israeli team lost all the games in the Top 8 games, but goes home with its head up. Greece finished 7th but had come here with bigger expectations.
Israel made an 0-11 run in the first quarter but the Greek bombs from outside, overall 15 in this game, made it a 2-point game, 23-25 after 10 minutes. Greece continued with the momentum in the 2nd quarter and opened with a 13-0 run on their way to a 54-47 lead at half time.
Israel slowly made its way back to the game, finishing the 3rd quarter up by 3, 66-69. The Israeli squad thought the game was in its hands after leading 67-74 after 33 minutes, but Greece started another rainy day from 3 point land and decided the game with a 15-2 run.
5th-6th Place Game: Serbia & Montenegro 85 Russia 81
In their Group A match up Serbia & Montenegro won by 6 points after a close game. Today, in the battle for the 5th place, we had a similar story, the same winner and almost exactly the same margin. Russi,a led by Nikita Shabalkin, finished the first half up by 3, 39-42, despite 15 points by the Serbian big name Labovic already in the first 20 minutes.
Mijatovic and Maras took off in the 3rd quarter in favor of the Serbs for a 64-56 lead after 3o minutes was ready for the 5th place celebrations. Not so fast. Russia’s Kourbanov, with another big game, pulled his team back from the game, and it all came down to the last minutes. Doudoukine gave the Russians a 79-81 lead with a tip-in with 50 seconds to go, but a quick penetration by Mijatovic tied the game 10 seconds later. Russia failed to score in the next possession and Aleksandrov nailed his 15th points down in the paint to put the Serbians up by 2, 83-81, with 12 seconds to go. The Russian coach took 2 back-to-back time-outs, but his team failed to tie it, and Serbia added 2 more points from the line with 00:00 on the clock.