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 hisĀ 3-point shot with just over 3 minutes to go which saw Israel trail by just one point, 73-72.

IsraelĀ then scored 9 unanswered points to take a commanding 73-81 lead and with 23 seconds left on the clock, Czech Republic were out of time.

Tal Burstein led 5 Israel players in double figures with 16 points.

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