Basketball: Israel stuns Spain in European Championship match

NOVI SAD, Serbia – In one of the most impressive victories in recent memory, the Israeli national basketball team put on a near-perfect performance en route to its 85-75 win over Spain. The win, which marks the first time in 11 years Israel has defeated Spain, guarantees the team will advance to the next round of the tournament. The Israeli team was led by forward Tal Burstein, whose performance has improved game by game. Burstein topped all scorers on the team with 19 points, 17 of which came in the first three quarters. Israel held a 33-29 advantage at halftime. Guards Dror Hagag and Meir Tapiro put forth strong efforts on defense while effectively orchestrating the team’s offensive attack. In addition, backup forward Gur Shelef contributed solid defense and demonstrated his customary strong passing. The team’s big men, Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Yaniv Green and forward Ido Kozikaro, managed to keep pace with the aggressive play of Spain’s frontcourt underneath the basket. Israel also received timely contributions from forward Moshe Mizrahi, whose clutch baskets helped ensure the win. Chris Watson battled while on the floor before fouling out and Yotam Halperin filled in at guard during important stretches of the game. The Spaniards arrived at the game fatigued after its first two victories, managing only 29 points in the first half of play. They were unable to pick up their game as the match progressed. With the victory, Israel can move into first place in its group if Latvia upsets Serbia in their upcoming match. Nonetheless, Israel will advance to the next round. The four winners of each group advance directly to the quarterfinals, while second-place and third-place teams go into an additional playoff round to reach the last eight. BPI-info