Israel gets Eurobasket off to solid start with 89-87 OT win over Finland

Sep 2, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Israel got their much anticipated Eurobasket campaign underway with a 89-87 dramatic overtime victory over Finland. Deni Avdija took the bull by the horns and helped lead the blue-and-white to the victory with his clutch shooting and tight defense as Guy Goodes’s squad are now 1-0 with their second game of the European Championship slated for Saturday night against Holland.

Israel got off to a rough start as Finland took control of the game from the get go as Lauri Markkanen, the brand new member of the Utah Jazz did as he pleased to help his team to a 27-16 lead after the opening quarter. However, the blue-and-white started chipping away at the lead as Guy Pnini calmed down the troops while Avdija played catalyst as he nailed a triple over Markkanen to gain confidence as crafty Israel found a way to knot the game up at 40-40 by halftime.

Nimrod Levi – Photo Credit: FIBA

Nimrod Levi and Tomer Ginat got the second half underway with important buckets while Avdija and Israel held Markkanen to no points in the frame, but the big man came back with a huge fourth quarter to send the game into overtime tied up at 79-79. The extra period saw Israel gain the upper hand with points by Avdija, Rafi Menco and Gal Mekel to wrap up the 2-point win.

“Finland scored a lot of points on the fast break but we made a comeback,” Goodes began. “We came focused and played together and had fun at the end. Every possession was crucial and we had to focus on the mental side, it was important that we started with a win.”

Guy Pnini and Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: FIBA

Guy Pnini also spoke about the victory, “We are very happy about the win and we knew the first game of the tournament was very important and crucial. It was a tight game and at the end we made the big shots and Deni Avdija made a couple of enormous big plays. Now we have to focus on the Holland game.”

“We were ready for this new battle, but during the game they took a little bit more of control, Finland coach Lassi Tuovi said. “Our fans can be sure we’ll come humble and hungry and give everything for them in the next game. Congrats to Israel, today we saw a tough performance from Avdija, but also from Tamir Blatt with 10 assists.”

“They executed their game plan,” Alexander Madsen commented. “We made a lot of mistakes on the defensive end, our offense was not running smoothly and we struggled a little bit – 19 offensive rebounds (by Israel) was one of the key points before the game.”

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: FIBA

Avdija led Israel with 23 points and 15 rebounds, Tomer Ginat added 13 points, Nimrod Levi and Guy Pnini each scored 10 points while Tamir Blatt scored 8 points and added 10 assists in the win. Goodes’s squad turned the ball over only 9 times and grabbed 44 rebounds with 19 coming on the offensive glass while dishing out 26 assists.

Markkanen paced Finland with 33 points and 12 rebounds, Madsen added 13 points and Maxhuni scored 11 points in the loss.

Lauri Markkanen – Photo Credit: FIBA

Finland got off to a hot start as Mikael Jantunen found a deuce, Sasu Salin went from deep and Lauri Markkanen put down a dunk as Israel responded with points inside from Nimrod Levi and Yovel Zoosman as the Finns grabbed a 9-4 lead midway through the first quarter. Jake Cohen got busy with a pair of buckets in the paint, Jantunen and Alexander Madsen countered, Gal Mekel scored a layup as the shot clock expired, but Elias Valtonen rolled off five points as did Markkanen with a thundering dunk to end the frame to give Lassi Tuovi’s team a 27-16 lead after ten minutes of play.

Cohen and Deni Avdija scored while the former added a triple as Markkanen was off the court to cut the lead to 31-23. Edon Maxhuni scored a layup, Guy Pnini, Tamir Blatt and Avdija all hit 3-pointers including one over Markkanen and another as the period came to an end as the game was all knotted up at 40-40 by halftime.

Tomer Ginat – Photo Credit: FIBA

Tomer Ginat and Nimrod Levi began the third quarter with buckets, Maxhuni answered, Pnini dialled up long distance but Madsen hit a pair of triples to put Finland ahead 48-47 midway through the frame. Levi scored a turnaround jumper in the paint, Avdija took Markkanen to the hoop for a layup, Toplas Palmi came back with a corner 3-pointer, Avdija again went strong to the hoop for a pair, while Levi and Ginat also scored btu Maxhuni put in a layup as the clock expired to cut the Israel lead to 61-58 lead after thirty minutes of action.

Edon Maxhuni went from deep as the shot clock expired to get the final frame underway, Markkanen added points under the basket, Ginat responded, Madsen went firm beyond the arc, Markkanen went to the hoop for a pair and Madsen dunked hard to put Finland in the drivers seat 70-64 with 5:41 left in regulation time. Blatt went from deep, Maxhuni hit a jumper, Menco and Ginat scored in the paint, Markkanen who had come in seconds earlier nailed a 3-pointer, Mekel scored as well, Markkanen responded, Avdija drilled a triple to tie the game up at 79-79 but Mekel missed a last gasp layup as the game headed to overtime.

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: FIBA

After two minutes of scoreless basketball in the extra session, Rafi Menco nailed a corner 3-ball, Avdija hit a pair of free throws, Markkanen drilled a triple over an outstretched Avdija who came back with a deuce, Mekel hit a pair of free throws to ice the dramatic victory to get the Eurobasket off to a rocking start.

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!