Qualification

Estonia: Sokk Unhappy With Defeat

Estonia coach Tiit Sokk was heavily critical of his players after watching them slump to a 75-57 defeat against the Czech Republic in their opening European Championship qualifier.

Sokk’s side failed to make the most of their home advantage and slumped to a convincing loss despite an 18-point haul from forward Martin Muursepp.

The win saw the Czechs move straight to the top of Group A and put them in a strong position to qualify for EuroBasket 2005.

“Some players forgot their role completely and just kept counting on two players,” Sokk told SL Ohtuleht. “There was not enough co-operation. I also expected more from Tanel Tein.

“I guess this is the current form we have. We started off well, but players were not ready to put up with the tense game for the whole 40 minutes.

“It will be even more difficult when we meet our next opponents away.”

Muursepp, meanwhile, echoed the sentiments of his coach and was frustrated to see his team-mates fail to build on a positive start to the match.

“We played a decent game for 18 minutes,” he said. “After that we started losing the ball and became sloppy.

“We could not stick to

Czechs Move Closer to EuroBasket Spot

The Czech Republic remain on course to reach EuroBasket 2005 after beating Poland 73-64 in the additional qualifying round.

6,400 spectators turned up in the Sazka Arena in Prague to watch the game, a record crowd for a basketball match in the Czech Republic.

The arena, which will host the 2006 Euroleague Final Four, is recognised as one of the best in Europe.

“It was pleasure for us to play in such a wonderful arena and I hope that we will see much more basketball games here in the future,” said Czech Republic coach Michal Jezdik after the game.

It was a convincing win for the Czechs who led for almost the entire contest. Michal Ignerski downed a three-pointer to put Poland ahead in the opening minute, but the Czechs soon overhauled that to fly into a nine-point lead.

They ended the first quarter 19-17 to the good after Poland rallied. The visitors then briefly got their noses ahead again by scoring the first five points of the second period, only to provoke a second Czech onslaught of nine points without answer.

Despite suffering from poor shooting from behind the arc – Maurice Whitfield was 0-2 and Jiri Welsch 0-5

Czech Team Moves Step Closer To EuroBasket

The Czech Republic advanced to the final stage of additional qualifying for the EuroBasket 2005 following Thursday’s win against Poland.

The Czechs already had a 3-0 record in Group A and sealed their passage to the additional qualifying tournament in Serbia & Montenegro, from September 11-13, with a 69-64 defeat of the hosts in Wloclawek.

Lubos Barton was the catalyst of their victory, pouring in a game-high 21 points and snatching seven rebounds, while Michal Ignerski kept Poland in the fight for much of the game with an 18-point haul.

Barton, the 25-year-old shooting guard who will be playing in the EuroCup this season with new club DKV Joventut, scored 16 points during the opening period, and although his team were two points ahead by the end of the quarter, Poland managed to draw level at 42-42 by half-time.

The lead changed hands a number of times in the third quarter, which Czech coach Michal Jezdik saw as a critical period in the game, before the Czechs pulled clear in the final period.

“We probably decided about our win at the beginning of the second half,” said Jezdik.

“We took an advantage of a couple of points and we controlled

Hungary Hold Off Czech Republic

Hungary opened the EuroBasket 2005 additional qualifying tournament with a win over Czech Republic on Sunday night in Novi Sad.

Both sides last qualified for EuroBasket in 1999, but it is Hungary who are in pole position for 2005 thanks to their 84-79 win.

Jiri Welsch (Czech Republic)
Jiri Welsch couldn’t rescue his side against Hungary

Hungary in fact dominated the game, and after Kornel David hit a jump shot to give them a 2-0 lead, they did not trail for the rest of the contest.However, although the Hungarians kept their noses in front, Czech Republic remained withing striking distance and made several serious runs down the stretch which nearly saw them steal the game.

Hungary led by as many as 11 points in the first half, only for Czech Republic to close to within one point (31-30) midway through the second period. But as soon as Czech Republic threatened, Hungary found a way to re-establish the lead.

The pattern repeated itself in the third quarter, but Hungary looked to have the game safe early in the fourth, when they led 70-58.

But Czech Republic refused to go down without a fight and when Jiri Welsch hit a 3-pointer with 90 seconds to go,

Sweden Keep One Foot In Division A

Sweden took the first step towards keeping their Division A status until 2007 with victory over Poland at the relegation tournament in Novi Sad on Sunday night.

The tournament, which features Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands, will determine the two teams which will be relegated to Division B, as only the winner will get to stay in Division A.

With the scores tied at 38-38 midway through the third quarter, the game was a low scoring affair as both teams battled for survival.

But it was Sweden who managed to find an offensive boost at the right moment.

They closed the third quarter with an 11-2 run which put them firmly in the driving seat with one quarter to play.

Trailing 42-49, Poland were still very much within contention, but Sweden blew them out of the water with an explosive start to the final period.

After missing their first two shots, Per Ringstrom hit a three-pointer to spark a 15-5 run which ended Poland’s hopes.

Ringström hit 3 three-pointers during the run, which saw Sweden’s lead reach 17 points (47-64) with just over 3 minutes remaining.

Point guard Mats Levin finished with 21 points and 5 assists for Sweden, who

Czech Republic EuroBasket Hopes Over

Czech Republic suffered their second consecutive defeat of the EuroBasket 2005 Additional Qualifying Tournament in Novi Sad.

After dropping their opening game to Hungary, they lost another tight contest on Monday night to Israel.

The loss means that Czech Republic can no longer qualify for EuroBasket, while Hungary and Israel will play for the last spot on Tuesday night.

Czech Republic certainly had their chances and were the best side for most of the first half.

They led 26-21 after 10 minutes and managed to turn that lead into a 40-25 advantage after five minutes of the second quarter.

But Israel rallied, closing the half with an 18-5 run which saw the come back to within 3 points, 45-42 at halftime.

Czech Republic suffered a blow just before the break when Lubos Barton picked up an injury which forced him to remain on the bench for the rest of the game.

Despite the loss of Barton, Czech Republic kept their noses in front, that is until the final 3 minutes.

Dror Hagag proved to be the key finisher for Israel down the stretch. The diminuitive guard scored 9 of his 15 points in the 4th period and it was his 

Israel Qualify For EuroBasket

Israel grabbed the final EuroBasket 2005 spot in Novi Sad on Tuesday with a win against Hungary in the additional qualifying tournament.

Israel will now go into Group D of the tournament with Latvia, Spain and Serbia & Montenegro, and will open their campaign on Friday at 17:30 against Latvia.

Despite the eventual 14-point margin for Israel, the game was close throughout and it was only an 11-0 run in the final 3 minutes which saw Israel claim victory.

Israel maintained a small lead throughout, but never managed to break the game open.

With 7:46 to play Israel had a 10-point lead and looked like they would stroll to a comfortable victory. But Hungary fought back and when Robert Gulyas hit a jump shot, was fouled, and made the bonus shot, they trailed by just 3 points, 72-69.

Gulyas’ free throw, however, would be Hungary’s last basket of the game.

In a disastrous final three minutes, Hungary shot 0/7 from the field and Israel streaked away to the win.

“This is a great success for a little country such as Israel,” said Head Coach Zwi Sherf.

“I am very happy and proud with what we have done. Throughout the whole

EuroBasket Additional Qualifying Tournament Set

The draw for the EuroBasket 2005 Additional Qualifying Tournament was conducted today in Izmir, Turkey by FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin and Sports Director Kosta Iliev.

Czech Republic, Israel and Hungary will all battle for the final EuroBasket spot on offer in the round robin tournament which will take place on 11-13 September in Novi Sad, Serbia & Montenegro.

Schedule Additional Qualifying Tournament:

11.9., 20:00h: Hungary vs Czech Republic
12.9., 20:00h: Czech Republic vs Israel
13.9., 20:00h: Israel vs Hungary

Israel will be the slight favourites to claim victory in the tournament.

The side features the core of players from EuroBasket 2003 which stunned Slovenia in the elimination round to qualify for the last eight.

The team went through a difficult summer period when head coach David Blatt was forced to step down as he had not completed his coaching certificate.

Zvi Sherf stepped into the breach for his country and led the side to a 4-0 record in the additional qualifying round.

Czech Republic also recorded a 100% record in their group against Estonia and Poland.

The side has a full complement of players for the first time since 1999, with stars Jiri Welsch and Lubos Barton back

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