Still Perfect
Shlomi Peri ,09/01/2005
In a meaningless game in Groningen, Israel defeated Holland 82-78 and kept their perfect record before the tournament in Novisad.

Israel finish the first additional qualifying tournament atop of group B with 100% record, after winning tonight in Groningen, 82-78. The draw for the games in Novisad, on Septmber 11-13, will take place on Monday in Izmir, Turkey.

Without any pressure, Israel led almost all game long, as Holland fall to a hole and then slowly climb there way to a tie, over and again. After 15-14 in the first quarter, Israel ran 8-2 behind Afik Nissim's good first half (10 points). The local side came back, but 8 straight points gave Israel the intermission lead, 40-37.

Like the game against Belgium, Israel's best period was the third. Tal Burstein, who had just 3 points before the half (Exactly like in Leuven), exploded after the break and led a big run which set the margin at its highest with 15 points. By the end of the quarter, the Blue-White squad led 65-52.

That was also the moment when Israel stopped playing. The Dutch ran 25-11 to take a 77-76 lead with a minute to go, but Shelef, Nissim and Hajaj each went to the line and calmly iced the win with 2 good foul shots, 82-78 in the end.

Tal Burstein led with 18 points (15 in the second half), Shelef and Nissim added 12 each, Hajaj 10, Green 8, Tapiro and Mizrachi 5 each, Watson and Shason 4 each, Peleg and Kozikaro 2 each, Markovich didn't score. Akerboom jr. had 16 in a losing cause, Elson added 13, but just 2 of them after the break.

In other games, the Czech Republic also secured a perfect record with a 69-64 win in Poland. Hungary lost to Sweden, 73-67 and finished with a 3-1 record.

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