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Bojan-Bogdanovic-08-09-2013
Bojan Bogdanovic (CRO) - Slovenia v Croatia. Day 5 of EuroBasket 2013 in Celje, Slovenia. 8 September 2013. Round 1.
08/09/2013
EuroBasket - Another wild and crazy day in Europe

LJUBLJANA (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Finland and Italy helped write another dramatic chapter at EuroBasket 2013 on Sunday by winning games in Koper to ensure they will advance to the next round, and stay firmly in the hunt for a spot in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The Czech Republic's dynamic duo of Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely, also put on an unforgettable show in Celje where they led their team past Georgia in Group C to stay alive in the EuroBasket.

It was Croatia, however, that came up with arguably the biggest result of the day.

Jasmin Repesa's team finally managed to let some of the air out of the Slovenia balloon by upsetting the host nation, 76-74,in an overtime classic in Sunday's last game in Celje.

Slovenia raced into a 13-point lead in the second half and looked set to pull away for a big win but Croatia held their nerve, got a huge 24-point, two-block performance from Bojan Bogdanovic and battled back to force overtime.

In the extra period, Damjan Rudez hit a pair of three-pointers as Croatia built a seven-point advantage.

Slovenia ended up with a chance at the end to pull level and force a second overtime after Ante Tomic missed two free-throws with four seconds to go.

They rebounded the second miss, whipped the ball up the floor to Domen Lorbek and he was fouled with 0.8 seconds to go.

He made the first first throw but intentionally missed the second, and Zoran Dragic was able to rebound the ball and push it towards the basket but was unsuccessful.

Goran Dragic had 23 points in defeat for Slovenia.

With Spain winning 89-53 earlier against Poland - they led 25-5 after the first quarter - the two-time defending champions are now on top of Group C on goal differential ahead of Slovenia and Croatia with all three teams 3-1.

Croatia still have some work to do to advance because on Monday, they go up against a confident Czech Republic team that won for the second time with a 95-79 rout of Georgia.

Satoransky had 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds and Vesely 27 points and 10 rebounds in the 95-79 win over the Georgians, who fell to 1-3.

Both Georgia and Poland (0-4) have no chance of making it to the next round.

In Group D, the Finns, after opening the tournament with victories over Turkey and Sweden and a heavy defeat to Italy, prevailed 86-83 in double overtime against Russia on Sunday.

Gerald Lee's dunk with 1:27 left put the Finns in front to stay.

Shawn Huff finished with 20 points and nine rebounds for Finland.

"We played against a great basketball country," Finland coach Henrik Dettman said. "We knew we would have it tough since the beginning, but we are improving a bit every day."

The loss has ended Russia's hopes of advancing, which means they cannot qualify for the World Cup.

Only the top six teams in Slovenia will advance to next year's tournament. If 2014 hosts Spain are in the first six, then the top seven sides will progress.

Greece, who sealed their place in the next round on Saturday, began as favorites against Italy on Sunday in Group D's second game but Simone Pianigiani's side won their showdown, 81-72.

Marco Belinelli had 23 points for Italy and Gigi Datome added 19 as the Azzurri stretched their unbeaten start to four victories.

"This is the win of my players and my staff," Pianigiani said. "Not mine. I am very proud of them. They did an incredible job."

The game feature two Italian coaches, with Andrea Trinchieri at the helm of the Greeks.

Turkey defeated Sweden 87-74 in Group D's other game.

There is much to still be decided in Group A, where France ended Ukraine's unbeaten run with a 77-71 victory.

Tony Parker poured in 28 points for the French.

Ukraine will now have to secure their place with a win against Great Britain, who improved to 2-2 with an 81-74 victory over Germany.

Andrew Lawrence, one of the Brits' Olympians from last summer, had 23 points in the victory.

The big surprise on Sunday in Group A came when Israel finally won a game, thrashing Belgium, 87-69.

Belgium will now go after their third win on Monday against France. But if they lose, they can still advance if Ukraine defeat Great Britain.

There have been plenty of fireworks in Group B, and the latest action there saw Bosnia and Herzegovina defeat The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonnia (MKD), 62-54, with Mirza Teletovic pouring in 22 points.

Serbia and Lithuania are at the top of Group B at 3-1.

Serbia bounced back from their defeat to MKD by winning against Latvia, 80-71, and Lithuania won the last game of the night against Montenegro, 77-70.

For full and in-depth coverage of EuroBasket 2013, go to the official website http://www.eurobasket2013.org.

FIBA

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