Just one day removed from a dramatic upset victory over Russia, there was no let down for Israel on Sunday in Montpellier. This time the Israelis were favorites against Finland, and they lived up to the expectations, cruising to a 79-66 victory to run their record to 2-0. The Finns drop to 0-2 in Eurobasket group play.
The momentum from Israel’s outstanding second half against Russia seemed to carry over into the Finland game, as the Blue and White leapt out to a 25-13 advantage after the first quarter. The lead extended to 15 points by halftime.
The Finns, who were paced by power forward Erik Murphy’s 24 points and 9 rebounds, fought back in the third quarter, trimming the deficit to eight points, but Israel finished strong, limiting Finland to 12 points in the final frame to win going away.
Lior Eliyahu, who played a strong supporting role to Omri Casspi in game one, stepped into the spotlight in game two, stuffing the stat sheet with 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists on 11 for 20 shooting. Yogev Ohayon came off the bench and played very efficiently for Israel, tallying 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals and missing only one shot in 24 minutes.
Next up for Israel, who remain tied atop Group A with France and Poland, is Bosnia and Herzegovina, who lost badly to France today, 81-54. The Bosnians are still seeking their first win in the tournament.