Ukraine ousted from EuroBasket; Markkanen has 43 for Finland
Sep 10, 2022, 6:42 PM | Updated: Sep 11, 2022, 2:52 pm
(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
BERLIN (AP) — Ukraine’s run at EuroBasket is over.
A.J. Slaughter scored 24 points, Mateusz Ponitka added 22 and Poland ousted Ukraine from the European championships with a 94-86 victory on Sunday.
Aleksander Balcerowski scored 14 and Michal Sokolowski had 13 for Poland, which finished the game on a 20-10 run and now will face Luka Doncic and defending EuroBasket champion Slovenia in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday.
And with that, the summer schedule for Ukraine’s national team came to a sudden end. The team played and trained in several countries around Europe throughout the summer but couldn’t gather in its own because of the ongoing war prompted by Russia’s invasion in February.
Games have been aired throughout Ukraine during EuroBasket, and players said they know their run in the tournament lifted some spirits.
“I hope it inspires and helps them a lot, just to get their thoughts off the war a little bit and just watch us play,” Svi Mykhailiuk said. “Obviously, today was not a great example of us playing, but this whole time, we did our best. I hope they enjoyed it. Obviously, it’s tough for everybody because all the guys’ families are still there and it’s tough having to be here. But I appreciate everyone being here. I appreciate everyone fighting.”
Vyacheslav Bobrov led Ukraine with 15 points. Artem Pustovyi and Issuf Sanon scored 13 apiece, Mykhailiuk had 12 and Ivan Tkachenko finished with 10.
Neither team ever led by more than nine in a game that featured 12 lead changes and 11 ties.
“It was tough, but we did what we did,” Mykhailiuk said. “I think we did more than everybody expected us to do.”
FINLAND 94, CROATIA 86
Lauri Markkanen scored 43 points, and Finland is now assured of its best EuroBasket result in 55 years.
Shawn Huff’s 3-pointer with 4:25 left put Finland ahead to stay, Markkanen’s layup capped a 10-0 game-deciding run and Finland topped Croatia for its first EuroBasket quarterfinals berth since 1967.
Finland will play Spain on Tuesday, seeking its first semifinals berth at the European championships in 17 appearances.
Markkanen made 19 of 29 shots from the field, scoring 26 of his points in the second half. He also had nine rebounds for Finland, which got 17 points from Sasu Salin and 16 from Edon Maxhuni.
The 43 points ties Markkanen for the eighth-highest scoring performance in EuroBasket history and the best by a Finnish player.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 points for Croatia, which got 17 from Jaleen Smith, 12 from Dario Saric and 11 apiece from Krunoslav Simon and Karlo Matkovic.
ITALY 94, SERBIA 86
Italy opened the fourth quarter on a 16-2 run to take control and ousted previously unbeaten Serbia — and two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic — with an upset victory.
Marco Spissu scored 22 points and Nicolo Melli added 21 for Italy, which got 19 from Simone Fontecchio and 16 from Achille Polonara.
Jokic led all scorers with 32 points for Serbia, plus he added 13 rebounds. He made 8 of 14 shots from the field; his teammates combined to shoot 18 for 47 (38%).
Italy will play France in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday.
GREECE 94, CZECH REPUBLIC 88
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Greece moved into a quarterfinal matchup with host Germany by beating the Czech Republic.
Antetokounmpo’s 3-pointer with 31 seconds left sealed matters for Greece, which got 14 points from Nick Calathes, 13 from Ioannis Papapetrou and 10 from Kostal Sloukas.
It was the fourth and final game of the day — a mathematically odd day in Berlin, where all four winners scored exactly 94 points. The four losing scores: 86, 86, 86 and 88.
Jan Vesely had 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting for the Czech Republic, which got 17 from Vojtech Hruban, 12 apiece from Ondrej Balvin and Patrik Auda, and 11 from Jaromir Bohacik.
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