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Home - FIBA European Championship 2011 Lithuania - Daily news

  FIBA European Championship 2011 Lithuania - Daily news

September 21, 2011

Heroes welcomed home

Thousands of fans in Madrid welcomed home Spain's national team after their second consecutive EuroBasket gold-medal triumph. Sergio Scariolo's team beat France 98-85 in the gold-medal clash on Sunday night in Kaunas, Lithuania. Less than 24 hours later, tournament MVP Juan Carlos Navarro and his teammates were being driven through the Spanish capital in open top bus until they arrived at the historic Plaza del Callao. Read more here.

Lions with triumphal return

FYR of Macedonia saw their magical run at the EuroBasket come to an end when Damjan Stojanovski missed a potential game-tying lay-up in the waning seconds of the bronze-medal game against Russia. Though the Russians won 72-68, there was only euphoria for the FYR of Macedonia squad after they flew back to the capital Skopje. There is no doubting the love and admiration the fans and national team have for each other because the players repeatedly talked about their supporters while in Lithuania. Read more here.

September 18, 2011 - Final Day

Another masterpiece for MVP ‘La Bomba'

Described by his coach as an artist, Juan Carlos Navarro can reflect on yet another masterpiece as he added the accolade of EuroBasket 2011 MVP to his illustrious collection of accomplishments. Instrumental during the business end of the tournament, the Spanish captain certainly led by example to ensure his team retained their title with some stellar displays. Having excelled in the Quarter-Final against Slovenia when he poured in 26 points, he then exploded in the Semi-Final by torching F.Y.R of Macedonia with 35 points in one of the stand-out performances of his career. Not stopping there, ‘La Bomba' then lit-up the gold medal game in a fitting finale to sign off his tournament with a game high 27 points to deny France. Read more here.

Spain stay kings of Europe

spain won eurobasket 2011
Photo: Fiba Europe

Spain successfully defended their EuroBasket title with another powerful and memorable display in the Final against France. Having been dominant two years ago in Katowice against Serbia, Sergio Scariolo and his players cruised to the top of the podium once more to deny France an historic first title. They simply had too much offensively for France and once they moved 13 points in front, early in the third quarter, they never seriously looked like relinquishing their title as they rode out comfortable 98-85 winners. The opening quarter started at a frantic pace, with Joakim Noah not wasting any time in trying to send out an early message as he threw down two dunks to put France 8-7 ahead. Spain then began to make some shots with Jose Calderon scoring five quick-fire points and when the lead was extended to 17-12, France coach Vincent Collet called time-out. The teams then indulged in a real shootout as it started raining three-balls with four in succession, as Spain protected their advantage at 25-20 at the end of the opening quarter. They then streaked nine points ahead and briefly threatened to make a potentially decisive break as they gave France a big test of their title credentials. Read more here.

Russia clinch bronze in another epic

russia wins 2011 bronze
Photo: Fiba Europe

Russia inflicted heartbreak on F.Y.R. of Macedonia to deny them a historic first medal in another highly absorbing and unforgettable match-up. Having won their previous clash in Round 2 with a last gasp miracle shot by Sergey Monya, this time it wasn't Russia but F.Y.R. of Macedonia themselves who were the architects of their own downfall. They missed a golden opportunity in the dying seconds to tie the game and were punished by Aleksey Shved, who held his nerve from the free throw line to secure a 72-68 success and help Russia secure bronze. With both teams renowned for their defence, it wasn't surprising that scores were a rarity in the early stages with Russia making life tough by blocking three shots to show their intent. Offensively, Russia also started slowly with only three points in almost five minutes before eventually exploding with a 10-0 run. Read more here.

Gold Medal Game Preview: Spain vs. France

The world didn't see the glitzy game they had wanted to see when Spain and France met eight days ago in a battle for Group E supremacy at the EuroBasket. With a spot in the EuroBasket Quarter-Finals already assured for both teams, France coach Vincent Collet decided to rest starting center Joakim Noah and point guard Tony Parker and Spain blew out Les Bleus. All the glamour will be on show on Sunday, though, because the two sides are squaring off in the gold-medal game. Read more here.

Bronze Medal Game Preview: F.Y.R. of Macedonia vs. Russia

Russia and F.Y.R. of Macedonia have already traded blows in one thrilling encounter at EuroBasket 2011 and they'll do so again on Sunday, but this time with a bronze medal at stake. The sides will meet in Kaunas, one week after Russia's Sergey Monya banked in a three-ball at the buzzer to give his team victory in Vilnius and clinch first place in Group F. Both teams won their respective Quarter-Final ties. F.Y.R. of Macedonia, getting strong performances from Bo McCalebb, Vojdan Stojanovski and Vlado Ilievski, upset hosts Lithuania, 67-65, on Wednesday night. Read more here.

September 16, 2011 - Semifinals

Navarro propels Spain to another final

Reigning champions Spain will get the opportunity to defend their EuroBasket crown after Juan Carlos Navarro fired them into a third successive Final. In a repeat of his dazzling performance against Slovenia, the Spain captain was unstoppable as he came alive after half-time to shoot down F.Y.R. of Macedonia and lead his team to an 92-80 win. F.Y.R. of Macedonia knew they had to keep the scoring relatively low, and while they couldn't match the prolific Navarro, they gave another performance to be proud of. They started the contest well with Vlado Ilievski picking up where he left off in the quarter-final against Lithuania - with a three-point shot. It was followed by a dunk by Predrag Samardziski and a fast break by Vojdan Stojanovski as they took an early 7-4 lead. Read more here.

Greece too hot to handle for Serbia

A devastating first quarter blowout proved decisive as Greece grabbed the last spot at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer. Serbia simply never got started as Greece tore them to shreds early and led from tip to buzzer in a comfortable 87-77 victory. The Greeks dominated right from the tip-off, scoring nine of the first eleven points to force Serbia head coach Dusan Ivkovic into calling time-out inside three minutes. It failed to stop the rot and his team struggled at both ends of the floor as they failed to start. Greece was playing with more defensive intensity while it was raining threes offensively, thanks mainly to the Serbian perimeter defence being missing in action. Read more here.

France vs. Russia Preview

Russia and France know what it's like to meet in big games at the EuroBasket because the two squared off four years ago in the Quarter-Finals in Madrid. In that meeting, the French led by four points in the fourth quarter but couldn't pull away and after missing several free-throws in the final minute, Russia prevailed, 75-71. The Russians went on to beat Lithuania in the next game and then Spain in the final to capture the gold medal. Now with veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko back in the fold after a three-year absence, David Blatt's team looks as good as ever. Read more here.

Spain vs. FYR of Macedonia Preview

Spain have an unexpected hurdle to clear if they are to keep their title defense alive at the EuroBasket in Kaunas. In Wednesday night's Quarter-Final action at the Kauno Arena, F.Y.R. of Macedonia shocked Lithuania and will now take on the Spanish, who blew out Slovenia. If Marin Dokuzovski's team hadn't garnered the respect of every team in Europe before the game against the Lithuanians, they certainly have now. Spain coach Sergio Scariolo was certainly impressed by the overall play of the team that finished second in Group F to Russia. Read more here.

September 15, 2011 - Quarterfinals, Day 2

Invincible Russia sail into semis

Russia chalked up a ninth consecutive win to take the last semi-final spot and preserve their status as the only unbeaten team in the tournament. A strong performance by Andrei Kirilenko was at the heart of their 77-67 victory which means the 2007 champions will meet France in a battle to make the Final once again. The game started at a high tempo with both teams turning the ball over three times inside the first four minutes in what was an untidy and frenetic. While Russian coach David Blatt was visibly frustrated at the offensive execution, or lack of it, at least defensive effort around the basket was there, evidenced by three blocked shots in the period. Read more here.

Late flourish fires France into semis

A far from convincing France left it late but eventually slipped past Greece to punch their semi-final ticket. In a game where defence was definitely king, the French struggled for long periods against a Greek team which made life difficult until they came alive in the last ten minutes, to secure a 64-56 success. Greece got off to a flying start and after two minutes found themselves seven points ahead. French coach Vincent Collet was calling a quick time-out with his team yet to score. While it was followed by a Tony Parker jump-shot and vicious dunk by Nicolas Batum, France continued to labour and it was all they could harvest in seven minutes. Read more here.

Lithuania keep olympic hopes alive

Lithuania dodged a bullet against Slovenia to book a spot at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament amidst incredible tension in Kaunas. Having led by 11 points, Lithuania almost blew it during a nervous second half but eventually prevailed 80-77 as Slovenia failed to force overtime with the final possession of the game. Both teams had little time to bounce back from their respective quarter-final disappointments but still managed to serve up high drama for the fans. There was a certain sense of déjà vu for Slovenian fans who watched their team establish a healthy lead during the early stages, as they did against Spain during their quarter-final match-up, only to suffer a drop later in the game. Read more here.

Russia vs. Serbia Preview

The game that will close the curtain of the quarter-final phase will pair Serbia with Russia. The two powerhouses will fight for the right to face the winner of the encounter between France and Greece in the Semi-Finals on Friday evening. Russia and Serbia met two years ago in the same phase and back then the latter won by 11 points and moved on to win a silver medal. Yet there is much wider historical aspect. These two countries were part of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, which used to control world basketball for decades. Read more here.

France vs. Greece Preview

Greece's late comeback win against France in the Semi-Finals of EuroBasket 2005 in Belgrade is still fresh in the memory. It remains one of the most talked about basketball games ever played on the continent. The Greeks, coached by Panagiotis Yannakis and led by Theo Papaloukas and Dimitris Diamantidis, trailed 62-55 with just 47 seconds remaining after a dunk by France's Boris Diaw but they fought back to clinch a stunning 67-66 win. Greece then beat Germany in the gold-medal game. Read more here.

September 14, 2011 - Quarterfinals, Day 1

F.Y.R. of Macedonia shatter home dreams

The incredible run of F.Y.R. of Macedonia continues after they won a memorable and epic tussle with Lithuania to reach the semi-finals. Amidst almost unbearable tension in Kaunas, they left the hosts heartbroken as they once again continued with their amazing ability to keep games tight and take them down to the wire. The last thing F.Y.R. of Macedonia wanted was a high tempo game and Lithuania's game plan was no surprise as they pushed the ball hard down the court at every opportunity. One thing they didn't do well however was boxing out and gave up four early offensive rebounds which, combined with three-pointers by Vojdan Stojanovski and Vlado Ilievski kept F.Y.R. of Macedonia within a point at 11-10. Read more here.

Spain move through gears to reach semis

Defending EuroBasket champions Spain shrugged off a stuttering start against Slovenia to power their way into the semi-finals. After an error-strewn and unconvincing first half, they eventually began to shift through the gears to secure an 86-64 success. They barely missed a beat after the break as they went into overdrive with their superior quality, depth and defence overwhelming Slovenia who imploded completely. It was Juan Carlos Navarro who ignited Spain during a remarkable third quarter although Spanish joy was tempered by an injury to Jose Calderon. It had all started so brightly for Slovenia, initially revelling in their underdog status during the early stages with their sense of freedom giving their fans much to cheer. Read more here.

F.Y.R. of Macedonia vs. Lithuania Preview

The message to expectant hosts Lithuania is simple. Beware of the underdogs. Along with Finland, the only other team at the tournament to have truly surpassed all expectations and defy the non-believers is F.Y.R. of Macedonia. Not surprisingly, Lithuania are favourites to win this game. They're on home soil and will face an opponent ravaged in unchartered waters, having never previously reached this stage of a major tournament. Read more here.

Spain vs. Slovenia Preview

Slovenia's Erazem Lorbek has told his team-mates to stand up and be counted when they take on defending champions Spain in Wednesday's Quarter-Final.  Bozidar Maljkovic's men clinched the final spot on offer for the last eight with a win over Finland. The result halted a three-game losing streak but now comes to biggest test of all and that is Spain, who finished top of Group E. "We face the best team in the tournament," said Lorbek, who plays for Barcelona in Spain's ACB. Read more here.

September 12, 2011 - Second round, Day 6

Russia last-gasp win to claim top spot

A dramatic buzzer-beater by Sergey Monya preserved the unbeaten status of Russia in a titanic tussle with F.Y.R. of Macedonia. The Russian captain launched a three-pointer to help his team claim a 63-61 success, top group F, extend their winning streak to eight games and set up a quarter-final clash with Serbia. It was tough luck on plucky F.Y.R. of Macedonia who fought gallantly without the influential Todor Gechevski to give hosts Lithuania real food for thought ahead of their last eight match-up. F.Y.R. of Macedonia started the game in a perfect way when they raced out to an 8-0 lead. It caught Russia cold but it wasn't long before they caught up. Read more here.

Greece back to winning ways

Greece bounced back from their mauling by Russia to sign off Round 2 with a win against Georgia. Having described their previous performance against the Russians as their worst of the tournament, Coach Ilias Zouros demanded an improvement and his team took note to claim a 73-60 victory. Still playing without injured duo Zaza Pachulia and George Tsintsadze, Georgia trailed 12-7 during the initial exchanges but then came alive to post an 8-0 run either side of the first quarter break to take the lead. Both teams were sloppy during the first period, turning the ball over too much but this improved dramatically ahead of half-time with Georgia managing to keep their noses in front at 35-32 with guard Marquez Haynes leading the way. Read more here.

Slovenia book quarter-final spot

Slovenia ended their recent losing streak to punch their quarter-final ticket after seeing off Finland in a do-or-die Group F encounter. While it was far from flawless and involved surviving a fourth quarter drought and late scare, Slovenia responded to the recent criticism and pressure by claiming a 67-60 success. As for Finland, their remarkable journey ended in slightly disappointing fashion as they missed a golden opportunity to make it to the last eight. They were always on the back foot from the early stages with Coach Henrik Dettmann calling time-out, his team 22-15 behind. Once Slovenia began making perimeter shots, it became even more difficult as they built up a commanding 14-point advantage at 42-28 by the half-time break. Read more here.

Greece vs. Georgia Preview

This game will attract less attention but is worth a look for both sides. Greece have already qualified and will finish third in Group F no matter what the results in this or the other games are. Georgia stand at 0-4 and have no chance whatsoever to qualify to the next round. Nevertheless, each of these two teams wish to have reasons to fight for a win. Greece will use this game to test the waters before the Quarter-Finals. Read more here.

Russia vs. F.Y.R. of Macedonia Preview

Two of the hottest teams in EuroBasket 2011 will meet in Vilnius Arena for the deciding game of Group F. The winner will take the top spot in the group and march into the quarter-finals with a good momentum. After France's defeat to Spain on Sunday, only one team hasn't dropped a game so far in EuroBasket 2011 and that's Russia. Moreover the way they win becomes more and more impressive. While in the First Round it took a lot of heartbeats, in the Second Round Russia has registered two one-sided wins. Read more here.

Slovenia vs. Finland Preview

To have a nightmare and a great dream at the same time is impossible, but when these two collide you can be sure something interesting is going to happen. The encounter between Finland and Slovenia will mix these experiences as each side will carry one in its pocket. For Slovenia playing against Finland to avoid the falling between the 9th and 12th spot, in the current situation, is a nightmare. Finland on the other side need to pinch themselves to believe they are 40 minutes from making the Quarter-Finals of a EuroBasket. Read more here.

September 11, 2011 - Second round, Day 5

Lithuania eliminate Germany

Lithuania turned back Germany with the help of their loud fans in the Vilnius Arena on Sunday night to march into the EuroBasket Quarter-Finals. Taking on Dirk Nowitzki and a dominant Chris Kaman, the host nation got 19 points from Rimantas Kaukenas and a one-two punch from Sarunas Jasikevicius and Jonas Valanciunas en route to an 84-75 win. Victory assured Lithuania of third place in Group E behind Spain and France and left Serbia in fourth. Lithuania didn't turn on all cylinders, hitting only three of nine shots from long range, with Kaman (25pts, 11rbs) proving a menace, but they grinded out a win. Read more here.

Spain demolish France, clinch top spot

France decided to give Tony Parker and Joakim Noah the day off and Spain took full advantage by blowing out Les Bleus at the Vilnius Arena. Spain's Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez led the way as the defending champions whipped the French, 96-69, and leapfrogged them into first place in Group E. While France saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end, Spain won for the sixth time in Lithuania. Spain coach Sergio Scariolo didn't sit down his stars but instead threw everything he had at France to win. "It was a weird game but we wanted to respect our opponent as well as other teams who are playing in this tournament to define the final positions and especially for ourselves, we believe there is nothing better than a good game to improve and get better," he said. Read more here.

Serbia survive against Turkey

Serbia scraped a 68-67 win over Turkey in a heart-stopping game in the Vilnius Arena on Sunday afternoon to clinch a spot in the Quarter-Finals of the EuroBasket. The result has ended Turkey's hopes of not only reaching the podium, but also playing at the London Games. Victory for Serbia has helped them avenge last year's Semi-Final defeat to Turkey in Istanbul at the FIBA World Championship and kept them on course for the Olympics. "We are very sad," said Turkey coach Orhun Ene.  "We were second at the last World Championship and we had big expectations for this tournament. "We didn't show our potential throughout the tournament. Read more here.

September 10, 2011 - Second round, Day 4

Seventh heaven for unbeaten Russia

Russia extended their perfect tournament record to seven games with victory against Greece, who dropped to third in Group F. The 83-67 success was mainly due to an impressive second half performance and a more powerful Russian frontcourt as Coach Blatt and his players continue vying for top spot in the group. With Greece edging a tight first quarter 16-15, the teams continued matching each other during most of the second quarter, step for step. The game had an enjoyable flow and a nice range of play both inside and outside. Greece were continuing their hot perimeter shooting from their previous game of Slovenia. Read more here.

Slovenia left on the brink

Slovenia's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals are now on a knife edge after they moved to three losses in Group F. With their offense labouring badly for long periods, they paid the price as a buoyant F.Y.R. of Macedonia capitalised with an 68-59 victory to extend their winning streak to an impressive six games. The first quarter was a classic period of runs as F.Y.R. of Macedonia scored the first seven points of the game. Goran Dragic then almost single handed brought the teams level as he scored seven points on his own. There was soon a real sense of déjà vu inside the Vilnius Arena as F.Y.R. of Macedonia scored another seven points without reply, a sequence broken once again by Goran Dragic. Read more here.

Finns shoot down Georgia, keep the hope

Finland claimed their first success in Round 2 off the back of a red-hot performance from the perimeter to see off Georgia. Weakened by the loss of both Zaza Pachulia and George Tsintsadze, Finland took full advantage to claim an 87-73 win and retain an outside shot of still making it to Kaunas. Finland lit it up from outside during an entertaining opening. They streaked into a seven-point lead at 18-11 shortly before the first quarter break, after hitting four of their first five attempts from three-point range. Georgia responded well, they posted a nice 10-4 scoring burst to get within a point early in the second quarter. Read more here.

F.Y.R of Macedonia vs. Slovenia Preview

If someone told you before the EuroBasket tipped off that Slovenia and F.Y.R. of Macedonia will meet in the Second Round, that would have made good sense. If that same person had told you the first team will hold a 3-0 record, have the quarter-final ticket in their pocket and arrive to the game with a five-game winning streak while the other with a 1-2 record, two losses in a row and still in hope to make the next round, that might have made sense too. Read more here.

Greece vs. Russia Preview

When two of the last three EuroBasket champs meet each other on the floor the only sure thing is that it's going to be an interesting encounter to follow. Both teams started the Second Round with a win, and while Russia earned their ticket to the next round by taking a 3-0 record, Greece are now holding a 2-1 balance missing a single win to stamp their ticket. Russia have yet to drop a game at the EuroBasket and they are just two games away from the stage where you can't afford to lose. Read more here.

Georgia vs. Finland Preview

The first game of the day will feature two teams in search of their debut win in the Second Round. Finland dropped against Russia to 0-3 while Georgia was a step from a win but lost to F.Y.R of Macedonia by two points and share the same record. Another loss for Georgia and they are out of the race, and this is probably not the best timing for them to reach such a critical game. Read more here.

September 9, 2011 - Second round, Day 3

France withstand Lithuanian attack

Nando de Colo exploded for 21 points and came up with five steals to help keep unbeaten France on a roll at the EuroBasket. Playing in Vilnius in front of a sold-out Vilnius Arena crowd, De Colo and France prevailed 73-67 to remain top of Group E. Tony Parker also had a big game for France, finishing with 19 points and both Joakim Noah and Nicolas Batum poured in nine. Noah finished with a game-high 13 rebounds, six of those coming on the offensive glass. "For us, this is our biggest performance in Lithuania," France coach Vincent Collet said. "To do it in Vilnius, in front of this crowd means that we are a real team. "Nando made very big shots that helped us get back in front." Read more here.

Germany edge Turkey to stay alive

Germany kept its quarterfinal hopes alive with an impressive 73-67 come-from-behind win over Turkey. The game was close until midway through the fourth quarter when Philipp Schwethelm of Bayren Munich came through with a pair of clutch three-pointers to set the sides apart. Turkey cut the gap to a single point in the final minute, but Germany prevailed by making free throws down the stretch. Chris Kaman paced Germany with 20 points, Dirk Nowitzki added 19, Schwethelm netted 14 and Alba Berlin’s Heiko Schaffartzik played a big role with 10 points and 5 assists. Omer Asik led Turkey with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Germany went inside early and crept out to a 4-0 lead with baskets from its big guns, Nowitzki and Kaman. Read more here.

Spain clinch quarter-final spot in style

Defending champion Spain stormed into the quarterfinals at EuroBasket 2011 by manhandling Serbia, its final opponent two years ago, on the way to a 84-59 victory on Friday. Spain raised its Group E record to 3-1 and will finish fourth or better in any potential ties. Pau Gasol led the winners with 26 points, to which his younger brother Marc added 20 and 10 rebounds. FC Regal Barcelona star Juan Carlos Navarro added 14 points, 5 assists. For Serbia, which still has quarterfinal hopes, Nenad Krstic of CSKA Moscow scored 12 points and Dusko Savanovic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul 11. Spain pushed inside to a big early lead despite Pau Gasol catching a pair of quick fouls. Read more here.

Lithuania vs. France Preview

The pressure is still on for unbeaten France, despite the team having booked their place in the Quarter-Finals with two games still remaining in EuroBasket Group E. The players, coaches, federation and fans know the knockout stage of the tournament awaits and winning games late in a major basketball event is normally much tougher than prevailing in the early ones. At EuroBasket 2007, France lost to Russia in the Quarter-Finals and then at EuroBasket 2009, Spain beat them in the last eight. Read more here.

Germany vs. Turkey Preview

Germany are going into their game against Turkey knowing they are drinking at the last-chance saloon. After carrying no wins into the Second Round from Group B because of defeats to Serbia and France, and due to their setback against Spain on Wednesday, the Germans' record in Group E is 0-3. The good news for Germany is that they know what it's like to face Turkey as they met twice in the build-up to the EuroBasket and won both games. Read more here.

Spain vs. Serbia Preview

Spain and Serbia will square off in a hugely important game for the third year in a row on Friday afternoon at the EuroBasket. The two met twice at EuroBasket 2009, with the Serbians beating the Spaniards in group play and then Sergio Scariolo's team avenging the defeat in the gold-medal game. At last year's FIBA World Championship in Turkey, Serbia turned the tables on Spain with a long Milos Teodosic three-pointer at the buzzer ending the title defense of a Spanish side that was playing without EuroBasket 2009 MVP Pau Gasol. Read more here.

September 8, 2011 - Second round, Day 2

Zisis late show downs Slovenia

Sharp-shooting Nikos Zisis was the inspiration for Greece as they toppled Slovenia in a dramatic finish to a roller-coaster game. The guard drilled home two big clutch shots as the Greeks registered their first win in Round 2, 69-60, to show their mental strength having thrown away a commanding 15-point lead. In an interesting first quarter, Greece didn't make any substitutions for almost eight minutes and didn't jack up a single shot from downtown. Antonios Fotsis came off the bench with a dunk to help his team open up an 18-13 lead. While Zoran Dragic also threw one down in transition at the start of the second period, it wasn't a sign of good things to come for Slovenia. Read more here.

Unbeaten Russia Cruise Past Finns

A powerful Russia made light work of Finland to keep their perfect record intact and move to within touching distance of the quarter-finals. It was a dominant performance by the Russians with the frontcourt providing the platform for the 79-60 victory. Finland initially played relatively well and matched the Russian team during the first eight minutes with a three-pointer by Teemu Ranniko bringing them level at 14-14. However Russia soon began to move through the gears and either side of the first quarter break, they outscored their opponent 14-4 to establish a double digit lead and get Finland coach Henrik Dettmann calling time-out in a bid to stop the rot. Read more here.

F.Y.R. of Macedonia get party started

For F.Y.R. of Macedonia this was the perfect day to edge closer to history and stand on the brink of the quarter-finals for the very first time. Their dramatic 65-63 success over Georgia thanks to a last gasp McCalebb score means they have one foot in Kaunas to give everyone back home an extra reason to cheer on Independence Day. Georgia fought hard and made it tricky for F.Y.R. of Macedonia who blew a 14-point second half lead but without Zaza Pachulia, Georgia just didn't have enough to complete a fine comeback. Having trailed 9-4 during the initial exchanges, F.Y.R. of Macedonia held Georgia to just one point in almost eight minutes and that provided the platform to establish an 18-12 lead early in the second period. Read more here.

Slovenia vs. Greece Preview

The main game on the opening day in Group E features two powerhouses of European basketball, in Greece and Slovenia. Slovenia missed the top spot in Group D to Russia and as a result arrived to Vilnius with a 1-1 record. Greece was shocked by F.Y.R. of Macedonia by 14 points and carry that loss with them to stand on 1-1 as well. This means the winner of the game will take not only have a one win advantage, with only two games to play, but also hold a better position in case of a tie-breaker will be needed. Read more here.

Georgia vs. F.Y.R. of Macedonia Preview

The standings show F.Y.R. of Macedonia are on a 2-0 record while Georgia are at the bottom of Group F with a 0-2 balance, but don't be fooled - there isn't a clear favourite here. Yet this does mean something - a win by F.Y.R. of Macedonia will bring them very close to a historical quarter-finals while a loss of Georgia will push them very far away from the main goal. F.Y.R. of Macedonia arrive to Vilnius on a huge momentum of four wins in a row in Group C, but streaks tend to end and even for the big experienced teams winning five in a row in such a big tournament is difficult. Read more here.

Finland vs. Russia Preview

Russia and Finland will take the floor for the second game on Thursday for a key encounter between a major powerhouse and one of the biggest underdogs EuroBasket has seen in many years. Russia topped Group D and didn't drop a game so far, which allows them to stand with a proud 2-0 record, in position to take over the merged group as well. Finland shocked by making the Second Round in their second EuroBasket since 1979, and will start the games in Vilnius with a 0-2 record. Read more here.

September 7, 2011 - Second round, Day 1

Lithuania outgun Serbia

In an atmosphere that only happens in European basketball, Lithuania and 11,000 of its friends at Siemens Arena in Vilnius defeated Serbia 90-100 in an electrifying display of offense in the first game for each in the second round at EuroBasket 2011. Lithuania players drilled 11 of 20 three-pointers to run away in the second half and repel all Serbia comeback attempts. Mantas Kalnietis of Zalgiris Kaunas led the charge with 5 three-pointers for 19 points, while Jonas Valanciunas of Lietuvos Rytas came off the bench for 18 points on 8 of 9 two-pointers. Euroleague legend Sarunas Jasikevicius added 14 points and matched Kalnietis with 7 assists. Read more here.

France stay perfect against Turkey

France flirted with a late collapse but beat Turkey 68-64 in Vilnius on Wednesday to remain unbeaten at the EuroBasket and move closer to a place in the Quarter-Finals. Tony Parker, held to just five points in the first quarter, had 10 in the third and finished with a game-high 20 in the Group E game. Victory came at a cost, however, as France's most reliable perimeter threat Mickael Gelabale sprained his ankle and had to come out of the contest. He will not be available on Friday when France take on Lithuania, according to coach Vincent Collet. Collet knows his team dodged a bullet. "We are very happy to win this game because for us, it's a big step for the Quarter-Finals," he said. Read more here.

Marc leads Spain to win over Germany

Spain didn't have it all their own way but still managed to beat Germany 77-68 on Wednesday in Vilnius. In the first game of the second round, Spain got 24 points from Marc Gasol, 19 from his brother Pau - all in the second half - and 14 from captain Juan Carlos Navarro. "We did everything that we could to make life as difficult for Spain," Germany coach Dirk Bauermann said. "We are satisfied with our performance." Spain were able to open up a nine-point lead but Germany did a good job of controlling the tempo from start to finish and never allowed the defending champions to pull away. Down 52-43 with 5:29 to go in the third quarter after a Pau Gasol basket, Germany went on a 12-3 run capped by a Dirk Nowitzki jumper to finish the frame. Read more here.

Serbia vs. Lithuania Preview

Lithuania and Serbia will square off in a rematch of last year's bronze medal game at the World Championship on the opening night of Group E action at the EuroBasket in Vilnius. Both teams have designs on not just reaching the podium but winning the title and are carrying 1-1 records into the Second Round. Serbia are looking to rebound from their only setback in Siauliai, with France beating them in overtime on Monday night, and coach Dusan Ivkovic knows exactly where the team needs to improve. Read more here.

Germany vs. Spain Preview

Spain are set to welcome back Pau Gasol for Wednesday's Group E showdown against Germany. A right ankle injury forced the Los Angeles Lakers power foward to miss Monday's defeat to Turkey - Spain's first loss at the EuroBasket. "I feel better," said Gasol. "I have some pain in my ankle but I will be ready for Wednesday." Read more here.

Turkey vs. France Preview

France will be thinking they have one foot in the Quarter-Final door ahead of Wednesday's game against Turkey. By winning against Germany and Serbia in Group B, Vincent's Collet's team starts Group E play as the only side with a 2-0 record and in first place. Turkey were stumbling but now they've gained some momentum, too. Following back-to-back defeats, Turkey were on the ropes of leaving the tournament, and would have, had Poland managed to beat Great Britain on Monday. Read more here.

September 6, 2011

Vilnius Welcomes The EuroBasket

With the first round of the EuroBasket 2011 tournament completed, team delegations and FIBA Europe representatives all gathered in the Vilnius Town Hall for the official reception to mark the beginning of the second round. The Town Hall is situated in the Old Town, an UNESCO World Heritage Centre, has always been a hub of political and economic activity since the early 13th century. With the second round of EuroBasket 2011 ready to get underway the teams still remaining in the tournament have all converged upon Lithuania's capital city to bring it to life for a different reason. Read more here.

September 5, 2011 - Day 6

Battling france edge Serbia in OT

In arguably the best game at EuroBasket 2011 this far, France edged Serbia 96-97 in overtime in Group B to stay undefeated in the competition. Tony Parker led 6 French players in double digits with 24 points. Nico Batum of Sluc Nancy added 18 while Mickael Gelabale of Belgacom Spirou had 11 for France. Marko Keselj of Olympiacos led Serbia with 25 points. Nenad Krstic of CSKA added 22, former Euroleague MVP Milos Teodosic of CSKA and Aleksandar Rasic of Lietuvos Rytas each had 11 while Dusko Savanovic got 10 for Serbia. Back-to-back baskets by Krstic and three-pointers by Keselj and Teodosic allowed Serbia to get an early 12-6 lead. Read more here.

Lithuania thrash Portugal

Lithuania pulled away early in the third quarter to claim a 98-69 victory over Portugal on Monday night in Panevezys. Blown out by Spain 24 hours earlier, Kestutis Kemzura's men bounced back from their first loss at the EuroBasket to secure their third win in the tournament. "It was important for us to get a good victory after yesterday's result," said Lithuania's Simas Jasaitis, who was one of five Lithuanian players that finished in double figures. "I think we did that and we head to Vilnius feeling good about ourselves." The hosts, who had clinched second spot in Group A ahead of the game, will advance to Round Two in Vilnius with a 1-1 record. Read more here.

Bosnia and Herzegovina blow big chance

Bosnia and Herzegovina failed in their bid to reach Round 2 with defeat against F.Y.R. of Macedonia to send jubilant Finland to Vilnius. A third quarter drought proved fatal for Coach Sabit Hadzic'splayers who simply had to win to progress. The 75-63 win by F.Y.R. of Macedonia certainly went down well with the Finns whose Cinderella story will continue for at least another week as an incredible sequence of results catapulted them into the next phase of the tournament. Everything had looked relatively comfortable for Bosnia and Herzegovina up until halftime. Led by an excellent Sasa Vasiljevic who had nine points and six assists in the first half alone, they found themselves 38-35 ahead. Read more here.

Turkey shut down Spain in final frame

Turkey upset Spain 65-57 in Group A of the EuroBasket on Monday to claim two valuable points in the standings in Round 2. Orhun Ene's side, which got 18 points from Emir Preldzic, could not have asked for a better day because early on the day, Turkey didn't know if they would even advance. But Great Britain defeated Poland, who had upset Turkey on Sunday, to ensure the Turks played in the next phase of the competition. Spain didn't have their biggest weapon, with Pau Gasol missing the game because of a sprained ankle suffered in their blowout of Lithuania on Sunday. The setback was the first in the tournament for Spain. Read more here.

Croatia crash out after nail biter

Croatia crashed out of the tournament after paying the price for a terrible start in a dramatic game against Greece. Knowing they had to find a win to go through, Croatia were dreadful during the first half and found themselves down by as many as 20 points giving them a mountain to climb. To their credit, they showed real heart in the second half and almost accomplished a legendary comeback. They were eventually pipped 74-69 to leave Greece breathing a sizeable sigh of relief with Coach Ilias Zouros and his players having almost snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory. Read more here.

Finland stayed alive in Group C by edging Montenegro

Finland stayed alive in Group C by edging Montenegro 71-65 behind 12 points from Gerald Lee. Finland now needs Greece and FYROM to win their games to qualify to Vilnius. Partizan mt:s center Nikola Pekovic led Montenegro with 16 points. Sasu Salin of Union Olimpija scored twice in a 10-1 run that allowed Finland to get a 25-14 lead after 10 minutes. Pekovic and Milko Bjelica of Caja Laboral combined for 9 points in a 3-14 Montenegrin run that Vladimir Dasic capped with a jumper that tied it at 28-28. Milos Borisov and Vladimir Dragicevic of Spartak St. Petersburg helped Montenegro to get a four-point lead, 36-40, at halftime. Pekovic shined after the break to boost the Montenegrin lead to 42-49. Read more here.

Great Britain finish on high

Great Britain left EuroBasket 2011 with a prestigious win by topping Poland 88-81 behind 28 points and 14 rebounds by Luol Deng. Unicaja big man Joel Freeland added 27 points and 11 rebounds for Great Britain. Dardan Berisha had 19 points for Poland while Adam Hrycaniuk of Poland and Lukasz Koszarek each added 15. This result allowed Turkey to reach the next round. Deng and Freeland led Great Britain to a 12-4 start but a zone defense allowed Poland to regroup in defense. A three-pointer by BC Khimki swingman Kelati sparked a 2-11 run that Berisha capped with a layup-plus-foul that gave Poland a 14-15 edge. Read more here.

Game Of The Day: Russia v Slovenia

Russia and Slovenia will take the floor for a winner-takes-all battle. Both teams go into their last Group D game with matching 4-0 records, but both had to work hard to get there. Slovenia didn't run over any opponent and in most games entered the last minutes still with a big question mark. Russia managed to win an easy game only against Belgium, and had to play down to the wire in the other three contests. Before mentioning the players involved, one look must be taken at the coaches. Bozidar Maljkovic on Slovenia's bench will take on David Blatt on Russia's bench. Read more here.

September 4, 2011 - Day 5

Bosnia and Herzegovina set up big day

Bosnia and Herzegovina set up a thrilling last day of action in Group C after downing Croatia with some great perimeter shooting. A sparkling fourth quarter also set up the 92-80 success with the experienced duo of Henry Domercant and Mirza Teletovic combining for 49 points. It didn't take long for either team to find their range in an entertaining opening with defence in scarce supply as both teams traded to ensure a finely balanced outcome at the end of the first quarter. A flawless 15-point line from Mirza Teletovic helped Bosnia and Herzegovina keep pace at 28-28 although in stark contrast to the fluidity of the initial 10 minutes, both teams struggled to maintain their rhythm during the second period. However just before the break and with the scores still tied-up, Bosnia and Herzegovina made a move. Read more here.

Serbia beat Germany for fourth win

Serbia claimed another important scalp at the EuroBasket on Sunday by winning convincingly over Germany in Siauliai. The 75-64 triumph gave the Serbians their fourth win in the competition and set up a tantalizing battle with unbeaten France on Monday to determine first place in the Group B. Dusko Savanovic led Serbia once again in scoring with 18 points while the remarkable Milos Teodosic went very close to a triple-double. Arguably the best point guard in Europe, Teodosic walked off the court with 12 points, nine assists and nine rebounds. The playmaker was in such great control that he turned the ball over just once in the game. Serbia stormed into a 9-0 lead and after Germany had seven unanswered points in reply, Teodosic and Co pulled away again with an 8-0 run. Read more here.

Spain hand Lithuania first loss

Defending champions Spain blew Lithuania away in the first quarter to win 91-79 on Sunday evening and secure top spot in Group A. The triumph means Sergio Scariolo's men remain perfect in the tournament and are the first side from Panevezys to book a place in Round Two of the EuroBasket. Lithuania, who had gone into the contest undefeated, take on Portugal on Monday, but will finish second behind Spain - and join them in Vilnius - regardless of the outcome of that game. Spain point guard Juan Carlos Navarro poured in 15 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter as Spain raced into a 31-12 lead. Lithuania failed to hit a single basket two minutes into the second frame and Spain tightened the screw, scoring seven unanswered points for a 38-12 advantage after 12 minutes. Read more here.

Poland stun Turkey in thriller

Kerem Tunceri missed a potential game-winning three-pointer at the death for Turkey after Dardan Berisha's jumper had given Poland a one-point lead. Berisha was outstanding for the Poles, pouring in a game-high 21 points and he was one of the four Polish players to finish in double figures. Despite being outrebounded 31-21, the Poles made most of the damage from behind the arc. They shot 10 of 22 (45%) from three-point range while Turkey finished four of 17 (24%). Poland led 39-35 at the break but trailed 75-68 with 4:52 to go. They reeled off seven consecutive points to tie the contest at 75-75. Enes Kanter led Turkey with 19 points. Read more here.

Improved Greece claim place in round 2

Greece surged into Round 2 after a blowing out Montenegro with a third quarter blitz. Having looked unconvincing during a scrappy first half, the Greeks were unstoppable after the break as they exploded to help secure a 71-55 success. The victory and second-half performance was the best possible response to their critics having been dismantled by F.Y.R. of Macedonia in their previous game. Montenegro opened up the game with confidence despite coming into the contest off the back of successive losses. Three-pointers by Omar Cook and Vlado Scepanovic put them 8-2 in front and applied some pressure to the under-fire Greeks. Read more here.

FYR of Macedonia headed to Vilnius

An inspirational performance by captain Pero Antic helped F.Y.R. of Macedonia become the first team in Group C to progress to Round 2. Having already despatched group favourites Croatia and Greece, F.Y.R. of Macedonia made it three in a row as they reached the second phase of a EuroBasket Final Round for the second time in a row. A beaming Antic was thrilled after the game and dedicated another victory to the supporters. He said: "I just want to congratulate my fellow players and to thank the fans so much for their support. They really are our sixth player. "We are tired but we gave a lot of heart." That is something which not only summed up his own team but also gallant losers Finland who gave everything but just couldn't find the offensive composure to get the job done at the business end of the game. Read more here.

Deng and team GB claim first win

Chris Finch's men, with no chance of moving on in the competition after defeats in Group A to Lithuania, Turkey and Spain, pulled away in the second quarter and went on to claim an 85-73 win. It is Great Britain's first win in a leading international basketball tournament. "I will always remember this win as it is my first at a EuroBasket," said Deng, who also pulled down 10 rebounds, dished out four assists, blocked one shot and came up with one steal. "I think we showed today that we have a great future ahead of us." Team GB also got a big contribution from Mike Lenzly, who finished with 17 points. Read more here.

Game Of The Day: Lithuania v Spain

Spain know exactly what atmosphere to expect when they come up against Lithuania in Sunday's showdown in Panevezys for Group A supremacy. The two sides met twice in the build-up to EuroBasket with each team winning once. One of those friendly encounters took place in Kaunas inside the new Zalgiris Arena and the hosts edged Sergio Scariolo's men 88-76. "It will be an important test for us against a team that is really strong and have the support of the fans," said Scariolo. Read more here.

September 3, 2011 - Day 4

Russia punch ticket to Vilnius

Russia stayed perfect with their third win in as many games for a 3-0 record that ties them with Slovenia at the top of the group. Belgium dropped their third game and are the last team in the group to remain without a win yet. Vitaliy Fridzon had 22 points and hit five of six three-pointers, while Andrey Vorontsevich added 17 points, all of them coming in the first three quarters, including a three for three effort from long range. Marcus Faison was Belgium's only player to reach double-digits in scoring with 14 points. It was a much tougher battle than the final score indicates as Belgium put up a great fight for three quarters before Russia took off. "All the teams in the group can play good and tough, and that's what Belgium did for three quarters," said Viktor Khryapa. Read more here.

Croatian trio too hot to handle

Croatia's big guns were firing on all cylinders as they helped secure a nervy 87-81 win against Montenegro in Group C. With Ante Tomic pretty much unstoppable inside and both Dontaye Draper and Marko Popovic also making significant contributions, the result had rarely looked in doubt after Croatia took full control early in the second half. However a late fight-back by Montenegro who at one point had trailed 60-45 gave the Croatians plenty to think about as their lead evaporated to just three points before composing themselves to secure the win. Croatia had generally been on top throughout the first half having raced into a commanding 23-11 lead thanks mainly to a scoring run of 11 points without reply. While Montenegro did rally, they still trailed 46-42 at the midway point of the game. Read more here.

First win for fired-up Finland

It was a case of third time lucky for vibrant Finland as they finally got off the mark in Group C in Alytus. An explosive third quarter offensive barrage of 34 points paved the way as they completed an impressive 92-64 victory over a lacklustre Bosnia and Herzegovina for whom Henry Domercant fought something of a lone fight with 25 points. Domercant was hot right from the tip off and handed his team a 14-8 lead but couldn't prevent Finland from surging 24-20 in front by the end of a pulsating opening quarter. The second period was less fluent but no less gripping as Finland edged matters 42-38 at the interval before returning to blow their opponent away with a superbly energetic third quarter display. They came racing out of the blocks to establish a double-digit lead inside three minutes as Sasu Salin converted from the wing to put his team 51-40 ahead. Read more here.

FYR of Macedonia make it two in a row

A terrific second-half performance propelled F.Y.R. of Macedonia to a memorable victory against neighbours Greece. The 72-58 success will be remembered for a long time in Skopje and made up for being on the wrong end of a 32 point rout at EuroBasket 2009. In a scrappy first quarter, neither team were able to find any real offensive rhythm or range. As Greece managed to move 18-16 in front thanks mainly to their ability get to the hoop and make foul shots. After increasing their lead to 21-16, F.Y.R. of Macedonia had to respond and did so in fine style to turn the tables with a 14-5 run heading into the final minute before the break. Their accurate perimeter game was complimented by some solid defence with Greece not getting anything easy although they did close the margin to a solitary point with a tip-in at the buzzer. Read more here.

Game Of The Day: Croatia v Montenegro

Both Croatia and Montenegro will be looking to bounce back from second day losses when they lock horns in Group C after the rest day. Croatia have struggled in their two games so far, giving head coach Josip Vrankovic plenty to think about at both ends of the floor. Defensively, Croatia have not made big plays on a regular basis. They haven't really applied ball pressure either individually or collectively and consequently have failed to deliver a sufficient number of steals to really make a difference. This is despite possessing the reasonable perimeter quickness of guard duo Dontaye Draper and Marko Popovic while they also have some big men with really nice hands. Read more here.

September 2, 2011 - Day 3

Parker shines again as France roll

Tony Parker has never played better and that's very good news for France as they try to win games at the EuroBasket. The veteran point guard exploded for 32 points, scoring on dazzling drives to the basket and also hitting a couple of three-pointers as France clinched a third straight victory with a 76-65 triumph over Germany. Parker is leading the EuroBasket in scoring with an average of 28 points. In a battle of Group B unbeatens, Germany led for much of the first half with Dirk Nowitzki pouring in 10 first-quarter points. France outscored the Germans 8-2 over the last 1:27 of the second quarter, though, to lead 29-28. Read more here.

Lithuania hand Turkey first loss

Lithuania clinched their third straight win at the EuroBasket with a 75-68 Group A victory over Turkey on Friday. The hosts, which struggled in a tournament-opening triumph over Great Britain, overcame one of the top sides in the world with a balanced attack and plenty of hustle. Lithuania coach Kestutis Kemzura got a huge contribution from the bench. The non-starters provided 33 points on the night to just 16 for Turkey's reserves. The game hung in the balance when Darius Songaila, who led Lithuania with 12 points, was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Emir Preldzic with the tournament hosts up 69-67 with 1:18 to go. Preldzic did not take advantage, splitting two free-throws and then missing a layup. Read more here.

Poland late surge to earn first win

Portugal played their hearts out but it wasn't enough as Poland secured an 81-73 victory for their first win in Group A at the EuroBasket on Friday. Poland's Lukasz Koszarek had seven of his game-high 18 points in the final quarter. "This is a very important win for us," said Koszarek. "We knew how important this game was for us and for them and it was a battle from start to finish. "Thankfully, we held on for victory." Mario Palma's side pushed Poland to the limit and only trailed 73-71 with 1:09 remaining but ran out of steam. Portugal led 36-29 at the break but failed to make a single basket in the first six minutes of the third quarter while the Poles scored 12 unanswered points to go in front, with four different players contributing in that stretch. Read more here.

Bargnani a giant as Azzurri win at last

Italy went up to 1-2 in Group B by edging Latvia 62-71 behind 36 points from former Euroleague Rising Star award winner Andrea Bargnani. Rihards Kuksiks led Latvia with 19 points. Bargnani has 12 of Italy's 14 opening points and free throws by Stefano Mancinelli of EA7 Emporio Armani kept his team within 17-16. Andrejs Sekalovs allowed Latvia to get a 21-18 edge after 10 minutes. Latvia led for the best part of the first half but a 0-6 run that Bargnani capped with a jumper gave Italy a 28-29 edge. Arturs Berzins of BK Ventspils and a fallaway jumper by VEF Riga scoring ace Dairis Bertans made Latvia regain the lead, 33-31, at halftime.Read more here.

Spain stay perfect against Great Britain

Spain grabbed its third win in Group A by downing Great Britain 86-69 behind 21 points from Pau Gasol. His brother Marc added 18 and 11 rebounds, Rudy Fernandez had 11 points while Real Madrid forward Felipe Reyes got 10 for Spain. Luol Deng led Great Britain with 17 points. Spain opened the game witn an 11-2 run that Fernandez capped with a fast break dunk. Great Britain rallied late in the first quarter, as Deng and three-pointers by Nate Reinking and Dan Clark got their team within 19-16 after 10 minutes. Another triple by Clark completed the British comeback, 19-21. A 7-0 run that Navarro capped with a bomb from downtown gave Spain some fresh air, 26-21. Felipe Reyes of Real Madrid and Fernandez allowed Spain to get a six-point lead, 38-32, at halftime. Read more here.

Serbia refuse to lose

Serbia had to battle hard to stay undefeated in Group B by edging Israel 89-80 with 24 points from All-Euroleague forward Dusko Savanovic of Anadolu Efes. Nenad Krstic of CSKA Moscow added 18 while Marko Keselj of Olympiacos had 15 for Serbia. Yotam Halperin of Spartak St. Petersburg led Israel with 18 points. Afik Nissim and David Blu of Maccabi Electra each added 16 while Lior Eliyahu also of Maccabi had 14. Halperin shined early and Eliyahu hit his floating jumper in transition for a 6-11 Israeli lead. Krstic and Panathinaikos guard Milenko Tepic stepped up for Serbia but Blu, Eliyahu and a basket by Elishay Kadir allowed Israel to stay ahead, 22-25, after 10 minutes. Read more here.

Game Of The Day: France v Germany

France have cut down two opponents at the EuroBasket in Lithuania already but their toughest challenge so far awaits on Friday. Germany and Dirk Nowitzki are waiting for Les Bleus in a vital Group B clash and two of the biggest names in the sport will come face to face again. Tony Parker will lead France against familiar foe Nowitzki in Siauliai. The two basketball icons have a lot in common. Each plays professional basketball in the American state of Texas, each has been named MVP of the NBA Finals and each reached the podium at EuroBasket 2005 when Germany captured silver and France bronze. Read more here.

September 1, 2011 - Day 2

FYR Of Macedonia win Thriller

F.Y.R. Of Macedonia survived a last-gasp buzzer beater by Bojan Bogandovic to see-off Croatia in a real thriller. Having trailed by double digits during the third quarter, F.Y.R. of Macedonia completed a great fight-back to claim a memorable 78-76 victory and their first of the tournament. Boosted by having the influential Todor Gechevski back in their starting line-up, intense defence allowed them to build a 21-15 advantage, albeit helped along the way by a technical foul called on Croatian coach Josip Vrankovic. However, Bogdanovic got one to drop from way downtown on the buzzer to cut the deficit in half at the quarter break. Read more here.

Kalnietis leads Lithuania past Poland

Mantas Kalnietis pulled off a jaw-dropping performance to fire tournament hosts Lithuania to a 97-77 victory over Poland at the EuroBasket on Thursday. The Zalgiris Kaunas guard poured in 10 of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter. He finished perfect from the floor and had just a single miss from two attempts at the line. To add to his impressive night, Kalnietis hauled down six rebounds, dished out six assists and came up with one steal. Lithuania also got a big contribution from Darius Songaila, who had 12 first-half points and finished with 14. Read more here.

Germany down Italy in crunch clash

Germany survived a tough test and improved to 2-0 by topping Italy 62-76 with 21 points from Dirk Nowitzki. Chris Kaman added 17 and 17 rebounds, Robin Benzing of FC Bayern Munich had 14 points while Heiko Schaffartzik of Alba Berlin got 11 for Germany. Former Euroleague Rising Star Danilo Gallinari led Italy with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Italy managed to make Nowitzki pick up 2 early fouls while Marco Belinelli and Gallinari helped their team to get an 11-9 lead. Marco Mordente followed free throws with a layup to keep Italy ahead, 18-16, after 10 minutes. Read more here.

Turkey thump Great Britain

Turkey used a three-point barrage to take a 13-3 lead and never looked back as they cruised past Great Britain 90-61 on Thursday in EuroBasket Group A. In the first four minutes of the contest, Orhun Ene's men buried four three-pointers and had a double-digit lead. Great Britain, who were without veteran center Robert Archibald (out through illness) for the second day in a row , trailed 17-3 after six minutes played. Chris Finch's men cut the gap to 22-12 early in the second quarter but Turkey then scored 13 unanswered points as part of a 20-4 run to pull away. Read more here.

Bosnia and Herzegovina earn first win

Bosnia and Herzegovina improved its chances to survive Group C by edging Montenegro 94-86. Mirza Teletovic of Caja Laboral paced the winners with 23 points. Nihad Djedovic added 19 while Nemanja Gordic had 14 for Bosnia. Omar Cook of Unicaja and Nikola Pekovic of Partizan mt:s each had 16 to lead Montenegro. Elmedin Kikanovic shined early with 9 points in the opening quarter. He got some help from Henry Domercant of Unics and Djedovic to give Bosnia a 25-19 lead after 10 minutes. Djedovic and Kenan Bajramovic of Banvit soon helped Bosnia to make it a 13-point game, 32-19. Read more here.

Late spurt sees Serbia stay perfect

Serbia grabbed his second win in as many games by topping Latvia 77-92 behind 23 points from Nenad Krstic of CSKA Moscow. Dusko Savanovic of Anadolu Efes added 19 while former Euroleague MVP Milos Teodosic of CSKA barely missed a double-double with 9 points and 9 assists. Ronalds Freimanis led Latvia with 19 points while Janis Blums of Bizkaia Bilbao Basket added 15. Serbia helped Latvia scoreless in the opening 4 minutes. Meanwhile, Marko Keselj of Olympiacos and Krstic combined for 9 points in a 0-11 run. Blums tried to change things for Latvia but Savanovic and Kosta Perovic of FCB Regal allowed Serbia to get a 7-23 margin after 10 minutes. Read more here.

Spain stay on a roll

Spain blew out Iberian neighbours Portugal 87-73 on Thursday for their second win in as many games at the EuroBasket in Panevezys. Sergio Scariolo's men threatened to deliver a first-quarter knockout and led 26-16 after 10 minutes played. Portugal tried to stay within striking distance but Pau Gasol killed off their hopes early on. Gasol poured 10 of his game-high 20 points in the second quarter as Spain's lead ballooned to 53-36 at half-time. Portugal were held to just eight points over the next five minutes and trailed 69-44 before Scariolo sat down his starters. Read more here.

Game of the Day: Turkey v Great Britain

The sight of a team from the United Kingdom wouldn't have sent shivers down the spine of most teams in the old days. But it's 2011 and for the second straight EuroBasket, Great Britain have a team in the Final Round and this time, Luol Deng is in the squad. The Chicago Bulls forward, injured and unavailable when the Brits made their EuroBasket bow in 2009 in Poland, is in the fold this time and no team had better take this team lightly. Team GB led hosts Lithuania on Wednesday in the fourth quarter before falling, 80-69. If Turkey are not shaking in their boots, they will at least have a healthy respect for the British team. "Every rival at the EuroBasket is difficult and Great Britain have good players," said Turkey's rookie center, Enes Kanter. Read more here.

August 31, 2011 - Day 1

Bogdanovic lights up Finland

A stellar display by Bojan Bogdanovic helped Croatia secure an opening day success in a shootout with Finland. As expected, the Finns continued their form of the Additional Qualifying Round and hit the ground running in an entertaining and high-tempo first quarter. With nothing really dropping under the basket, they had to light it up from outside with an impressive six of eight triples handed them a valuable 26-25 lead. Less than impressive, however, was the solitary inside score they found from 10 attempts in the opening 10 minutes as they continued to temporarily draw Croatia into something of a shootout. Read more here.

Lithuania use late surge to beat Great Britain

Tournament hosts Lithuania broke open a close game in the final quarter to beat Great Britain 80-69 in the last game of the opening day of EuroBasket action in Panevezys. Chris Finch's side trailed 51-39 early in the third quarter but scored 10 unanswered points as part of a 18-3 run to go in front 57-54 with 10 minutes remaining. The Brits still led 61-60 with seven minutes to go but they run out of steam. Every fast-break and made shot triggered ovations and the beating of drums from the passionate fans wearing green and yellow inside the packed Panevezys Arena. Lithuania held the visitors to just two points over the next three minutes and went on a 13-2 rampage to pull away. Read more here.

Latvia in full blums but France prevail

France had to survive a red-hot shooting display from Latvia captain Janis Blums to win their first game at the EuroBasket in Lithuania. Blums buried six of his nine shots from long range en route to a game-high 32 points in the Group B clash but Vincent Collet's French team prevailed, 89-78. Tony Parker had 31 for France after exploding for 19 after the break. Latvia, roared on by many of their fans who made the one-and-a-half hour car ride to Siauliai, led by as many as eight in the first half and were on top 41-40 at the break. France got their noses in front in the third quarter but the game hung in the balance with 4:31 to play in the fourth after Blums hit a three-ball and then split a pair of free-throws to cut the deficit to 72-70. Read more here.

Montenegro earn first win at EuroBasket

A stunning double-double by Vladimir Dasic propelled Montenegro to their first ever victory at EuroBasket. While it was not exactly pretty, that won't matter to Dasic or his team-mates who enjoyed writing another line in the history books as they won 70-65 in an absorbing overtime encounter against F.Y.R. of Macedonia. There was little to separate both teams in what was an intense struggle and at times, very much a war of attrition. Crucially F.Y.R. of Macedonia were without veteran Todor Gechevski and his experience was sorely missed in such a tight game. Read more here.

Macvan, Serbia turn back Italy

Italy had a dream start at the EuroBasket but even that wasn't enough to beat Serbia in Siauliai. Serbia, getting 14 points and eight rebounds from reserve power forward Milan Macvan and 15 points apiece from Milenko Tepic and Milos Teodosic, won 80-68 to land the first blow in Group B. The Italians, making their first appearance in the Final Round since 2007 in Spain, began well against the silver-medal winners of 2009. Danilo Gallinari (15pts) poured in 10 first-quarter points as the Azzurri opened up a 18-10 lead. Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic went to his bench and was richly rewarded, with Macvan enjoying maybe his finest moment in the national team shirt. Read more here.

Defending champions Spain edge Poland

Spain got their EuroBasket title defence off to a nervy start with an 83-78 win over Poland on Wednesday afternoon. In the first game of the opening day at the Panevezys Arena, Sergio Scariolo's men had hoped to underline their status as Group A favourites but were to made to work hard by never-say-die Poland to secure victory. The EuroBasket 2009 MVP Pau Gasol had a game-high 29 points while team-mate Juan Carlos Navarro finished with 23. Spain led 42-25 late in the first half but Poland hit back after the break to cut the gap 80-78 with 17.2 seconds remaining. Read more here.

Game of the Day: Serbia v Italy

Italy's first game in their return to the EuroBasket is a huge one. The opponents in the opening clash of Group B in Siauliai are Serbia. The FIBA World Rankings have Italy seventh and Serbia eighth. Results the past three years show that Serbia have been a far superior team. Serbia qualified for EuroBasket 2009 (and Italy did not) and went on an unexpected run to the Final. They left Poland with a silver medal and followed that up with a fourth-place finish at the 2010 World Championship in Turkey. Italy, meanwhile, haven't played in a big event since EuroBasket 2007. Serbia will be without forward Novica Velickovic, who is out of the EuroBasket because of muscular injury, but Nemanja Bjelica (hand) and Marko Keselj (cheekbone) passed late fitness tests and will play. Read more here. You can follow live scores here.

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