Israel falls to Sweden 71-68; eliminated from World Cup qualifying

Nov 14, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Israel fell 71-68 to Sweden as the Blue & White were eliminated from World Cup qualifying with two games left in the group stage. Guy Goodes’s squad grabbed a 43-40 lead at halftime on the strength of Rafi Menco and Nimrod Levi’s play, but Ludvig Hakansson paced the hosts over the course of the second half to take the win.

“It was a tough match,” Goodes said. “We made a lot of stops and in the third quarter we made stops but didn’t convert them to baskets. The game then went to possession here and there and we made a mistake on an inbounds pass with an offensive foul and they made the basket on the inbound play on the sideline. We were not focussed enough on the defensive side.”

“I think that this was important for Swedish basketball,” Ludwig Degernas said after the win. “Israel had effort to try and win and we now have to enjoy the victory.”

Bar Timor – Photo Credit: FIBA

Bar Timor reflected on the game, “We had a good first half and we played well. The second half we started slow and they changed the game and were up most of the time. We fought until the end and I missed a wide open shot. It was tough loss that we will learn from.”

Simon Birgander also spoke about the match that was, “We were pretty equal and we played so so defense in the first half, the 4th quarter they made it tough with 3-pointers and offensive rebounds but we held on for the win.”

Rafi Menco – Photo Credit: FIBA

Menco paced Israeli with 17 points, Levi added 12 points and Timor scored 9 points and grabbed 8 rebound. Hakansson led all scorers with 29 points and Birgander added 10 points and 11 rebounds in the win.

Ludvig Hakanson scored a quick 9 points to give Sweden a 13-4 lead midway through the first quarter, but Nimrod Levi rattled off 7 points and Bar Timor added a couple of baskets to cut the lead to 17-16 after ten minutes of play.

Bar Timor – Photo Credit: FIBA

Simon Birgander and Johan Lofberg scored for the hosts while Bar Timor and Noam Dovrat answered for Israel as the score was knotted up at 28-28 with 4:10 left in the second quarter. Hakanson continued to pace Sweden, but Rafi Menco and Idan Zalmanosn found points to give Guy Goodes’s squad a 40-37 lead at halftime.

Denzel Andersson and Hakansson scored for Sweden, Menco found points Israel, Christopher Czerapowicz answered to head into the final frame ahead 53-48.

Nimrod Levi – Photo Credit: FIBA

Lofberg and Birgander bumped up the advantage while Menco and Niv Misgav to pull to within 64-60, Ginat scored inside, Melwin Pantzar came back with a triple and Hakansson scored a key bucket with 25 seconds as Timor’s last gasp 3-point shot at the buzzer clanked off the iron as the hosts closed out the win.

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