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 tournament we played great defense, and tonight we managed to stop the Hungarian centers.”
Meir Tapiro led 4 Israeli players in double figure scoring with 18 points.
Robert Gulyas had 25 points and 9 rebounds for Hungary.