Monday, September 8, 2008


TUZLA, Bosnia (September 8,2008) - Bosnia held off Israel 77-71 on Saturday night to leave each of the four teams in EuroBasket 2009 qualifying Group D with one win and one defeat.After the shocking defeat against Czech Republic, Bosnia had to win against Israel since a home defeat would have been the end of hopes to qualify for the EC 2009. Knowing that the team needs support 5000 fans came to Tuzla and if the Mejdan would have the capacity , even 10000 tickets could have been sold.

The team of Mensur Bajramovic hade some changes in his starting five.Instead of Jazvin the young Tuzla-native Kikanovic played on the center-position. The team started very well and established after only 8 minutes a fourteen-point lead (22-8).

However after Gordic picked up his second PF, Mensur Bajramovic replaced him by J.R.Bremer. The Bosnian team had visible porblems to run its offense and the israeli team cut the lead to up to two points. Particularly the israeli bigmen controlled the boards and scored easily. Bajramovic reacted immediately bringing Jazvin who slowed the israeli inside offense down. The Bosnian team reestablished a double-digit margin and things seemed to be OK.

The Bosnians took the lead against the Israelis for good at 58-57 with 13 seconds remaining in the third quarter after American-born Ernest Bremer made one of two at the free throw line.

The hosts would go on to score the first eight points of the fourth quarter, with Mirza Teletovic's lay-up capping the 9-0 run to make it 66-57.

Israel battled back and had a chance to close the gap to two with 1:27 to go but Lior Eliyahu missed the second of two free throws to leave the visitors trailing 72-69.

Kenan Bajramovic went to the other end and buried a three-ball for a 75-69 Bosnian lead and they held on for the win.

Bajramovic and Opacak each had 13 points for the Bosnians, while Israel got 13 from Amit Tamir in defeat.

The Israelis hurt their cause at the free throw line, making 13 of 22 (59%) with Yaniv Green three of seven (42.8%).

Bosnia were even worse, making eight of 14 (57.1%).

Teletovic, honoured as the Revelation of the Year in the 2007-08 ACB campaign with Tau Ceramica, was just one of seven at the stripe for the Bosnians.

The match has not been a good one. It has not been won through brilliant basketball but by a great hustle and team spirit something that has been missed so much in the years before.Bosnia's next opponent will be Great-Britain that easily defeated Czech Republic.

Bosnia: Opacak 13 (4rebs), Bajramovic 13(3rebs), Jazvin 9 (9rebs),Bremer 8 (3TO), Kikanovic 7 (2rebs),Teletovic 7 (5rebs),Ikonic 6, Djedovic 6,Milosevic 5, Gordic 3 (3ass)

Israel: Tamir 13,Green 11, Elyahu 10,Halperin 7,Tapiro 6, Casspi 6,Limonad 5, Naor 5,Watson 4, Pnini 2, Kozikaro 2

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