By Lance Fogel
Eurobasket 2022 qualifying action continued Friday night in Gliwice, Poland as Israel dropped Romania 79-71 in the fifth game of Group A play.
The first time around Israel easily handled Romania with a decisive 87:63 win. Romania, needing a win to continue their qualifying hopes, was limping into this game behind two blowout losses to Poland and Spain. Meanwhile, Israel, perfect in pool play, already punched their ticket to the next round.
The game began slowly and sloppy as both teams were turning the ball over in bunches. Finally, each settled into the game as the first quarter ended with Israel up 5, 22-17.
The second quarter began much the same way as the first with each team trying to find their groove. Israel, with really nothing to play for, had trouble exerting their greater talent but finally began to close down the Romanians and finish the half with a commanding 17 point lead, 45-31. After twenty minutes, Roman Sorkin and Tamir Blatt led Israel in scoring with 8 points each while Mihai Maciuca led Romania with 10.
The third quarter was very uneventful with Romania only managing to dent Israel’s lead by a point, however, the fourth quarter was another matter altogether. In the fourth quarter, Israel allowed their commanding 17 point lead to be whittled down to 4 with 1:54 remaining in regulation, giving hope for an improbable Romanian upset. But, that was as close as the Romanians would get as Israel clamped down on their defense and made their free throws down the stretch to continue their perfect Group A record and send Romania crashing out of Eurobasket 2022.
The final score— Israel 79 Romania 71.
Israel –Roman Sorkin 18 pts; 7/9 2pts; 4/5 FT
Romania –Mihai Maciuca 18 pts; 3/3 2pts; 4/5 3pts.
Israel will conclude Group A play on Sunday night vs. Spain.