The second-round groupings were settled as the first round of FIBA Eurobasket drew to a close.
Group A: Great Britain 68, Ukraine 87
What was expected to be a down-the-wire finish in Ljubljana proved to be an easy game for Ukraine, which secured the second spot in Group A with a win over Great Britain. Ukraine coach Mike Fratello, who preaches a spread offense, ensured that everyone contributed as eight of his wards scored 8 points or more. The Ukrainians took a 21-18 lead after the first quarter and followed it up with a 27-13 second quarter to get hold of the win. The Britons were outrebounded, 28-40, and shot poorly from the field, connecting on a miserable 41.1 per cent of their shots. With Ukraine's victory and Germany's win over Israel on Monday, Belgium (2-3) will take the third spot in Group A, trailing France (4-1) and Ukraine (4-1).
Petteri Kopnen scored 29 points and completed 3 assists as Finland upset Greece in the opening round of FIBA Eurobasket 2013.
Group B: Lithuania 72, Bosnia and Herzegovina 78
Bosnia and Herzegovina had to win by at least 10 points to advance to the next round. However, Lithuanian forward Linas Kleiza, who finished with 20 points, had other ideas, burying a three-pointer in the last few seconds to reduce a hefty Bosnian deficit to only six. Bosnia and Herzegovina actually led by 16 points in the fourth quarter behind Mirza Teletovic's team-high 31 points. However, bench depth was again an issue for Bosnia, as the team from the Balkans managed to squeeze only six points from their reserves. Rebounding was also an issue, as Lithuania outrebounded their rivals 41-31. It was a heartbreaking win, if there ever was one, for Bosnia and Herzegovina (3-2), which fell behind Latvia (3-2) on point differential and failed to make the second round.
Group C: Croatia 70, Czech Republic 53
Croatia needed a huge second-half blast to dispatch of Czech Republic. Between the 6:32 mark of the third quarter and the 6:26 mark of the fourth, the Croatians' stingy defense limited the Czechs to only four points, while scoring 14 of their own. Dario Saric had a terrific fourth quarter, scoring 8 points off two three-pointers. So well-executed was Croatia's second-half adjustment that they stopped their opponents' fastbreak attack, limiting them to 37 per cent shooting. Croatia also shot considerably better in the second half, connecting on 48 per cent of their shots compared to 42 per cent during the first two quarters. Czech Republic (2-3) had a massive 23-point disadvantage to overhaul in terms of point differential, and this loss resulted in their early exit from contention. Croatia (4-1) went up to solo second as Slovenia (3-2) was blindsided by Poland (1-4) in the final game at Zlatorog Arena in Celje.
Group D: Greece 77, Finland 86
Finland's star continued to rise at Eurobasket 2013 as they engaged Greece in a shooutout -- and won. Despite losing point guard Teemu Ranikko and Hanno Mottola to injury prior to the game, the Finns hung tough in the first half, holding a slim one-point lead at the break. Petteri Koponen then presided over a 12-4 run as Finland took an 8-point advantage going into the last quarter. Bench scoring was also key in the upset, as Kimmo Muurinen scored 15 points of his own, more than making up for Gerald Lee's lack of scoring productivity. Koponen sank 5 of 7 three-point attempts en route to a 29-point night while dishing out 3 assists. Finland (4-1) thus moved up to second in Group D, behind Italy (5-0). Greece fell to 3-2 and will next face a dangerous Spain side who are peaking just in time for the second round.
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