Opening the third day of the 2019 Men’s European Championship, Italy bounced back from their defeat against Great Britain yesterday to take a comfortable victory over Austria in pool A, 71-47. Austria struggled to match up with the height of Italy who scored 40 points in the paint. Italy’s Sabri Bedzeti led the scoring with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 10 of 16 from the free-throw line.
It was another straightforward win for Great Britain over Switzerland, 90-35, which allowed them to go top of pool A. Despite a strong start from Switzerland who stayed with the World Champions for the first eight minutes, Great Britain turned on the class in the second quarter, 26-2, to put the game to bed. They won the final two quarters 22-11 and 21-11.
In the final pool A game of the day, it was a thrilling match-up between hosts Poland and Germany, both looking for their second win of the competition. Infront of a vocal home support, Poland took a slight advantage, 23-18, into the second quarter, a lead they would hold on to going into the break. The third quarter went to Germany 24-12, so it was evenly poised going into the last period. The fourth proved to be very exciting as the game went right to the wire with the lead exchanging hands a number of times before Germany outlasted Poland to finish the game as victors, 79-71.
The combination of Dirk Passiiwan and Aliaksandr Halouski scored 55 of Germany’s 79 points with 29 and 26 points respectively. Dominik Mosler led Poland’s scorers with 23 points, followed closely by Mateusz Filipski who was just 1 rebound away from a triple-double with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists.
Not only was the game a crowd pleaser, it was also very poignant one taking place on the date that marked 80 years on from the start of World War Two and the day Germany invaded Poland, the teams posed together for a combined picture, to commemorate the day and show how important sport is to unite us all and be a driver for peace.
Turkey went 2-0 in pool B as they defeated Israel, 91-59. They led from the start winning all four quarters, 20-15, 24-22, 21-11, and 26-11. Turkey finished with four players in double figures, captain Özgür Gürbulak top scoring with 29 points, and for Israel Shay Barbibay made 14 points.
Spain tied at the top of pool B, in what as their biggest ever win in a continental championship since 1999, with a 101-35 win over Russia. In a dominating performance Spain pressurised Russia with a stifling defence and scored freely themselves, taking their record to 2-0 for the competition. Spain’s Amadou Diallo Diouf was the game top scorer with 18 points followed by Russia’s Dmitry Sitnikov who hit a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Finishing off the day was the last game in pool B, Netherlands versus France. Netherlands came out with a point to prove after a disappointing performance yesterday against Spain, as they stormed to a 17-4 lead. France struggled to convert as they chased the game throughout, shooting at just 32% compared to the Netherlands’ 48%, to help the Dutch claim their first win of the championship, 73-42.
Highlights from Day 3
The 2019 Men’s European Championship acts as the wheelchair basketball zonal qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with the semi-finalist teams claiming the four available spots.
Photocredit – R Budek