Eurobasket 2005        ME v basketbale mužů 2005 

Additional Qualification SCHEDULE    incl. Novi Sad 11.-13.9.2005


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40 Minutes Away    Uri Savir ,09/12/2005
Israel overcame an early 17-point deficit despite a terrible free throw shooting night and with 9 late points by Hajaj defeated the Czech Republic 83-78. Tonight against Hungary, it's all or nothing. It didn't go easy at all. Tapiro has had another poor evening, Burstein looked like Shaque from the line (6 for 14!) and the Czech ran to an early 17-point lead. But Israel under coach Sherf have a great spirit, which helped them to win and get within 40 minutes from the European Championships.  Burton was in a great zone, scoring 13 first quarter points, as only Green answers with 10 of his own. The Czech led 26-21 after one quarter, but Starosta was unstoppable in the paint, and 8 unanswerred points made it a 34-21 lead, when Welsch picked up hsi 3rd personal foul. Israel finished 5 minutes with only one field goal, and the margin was as high as 43-26, when Burstein started the run with a three-pointer and an assist to Shason's 3-point play, quickly followed by another trey. Markovich and Kozikaro locked the hoop and threw away the key, Shason converted and Burstein closed the 16-0 run just like it started with as he connected from outside.

The Czech finished the half with a basket and a 45-42 lead, but Israel didn't stop and scored another 7 straight points to complete a 23-2 amazing run to put them 4 points ahead. Welsch picked up another foul, but Burstein made only 3 of 10 foul shots, and Israel was still trailing after 30 minutes, 58-60. Welsch, with 6 clutch points, made it a 4-point game, but Hajaj took the call. It started with a huge three-pointer, continued with a great assist to Green and another bank shot made it 76-73. Welsch couldn't excute and Israel scored 7 of 8 foul shots down the stretch, including 4 by the MVP Hajaj, to ice the win, 83-78.

Burstein had 16 (7 rebs, 4 as), Hajaj 15 (6-6 FT, 4 st), Green 14, Shason 11, Tapiro 8, Kozikaro 5, Markovich 2 and Watson 1. Milos tallied 15 in a losing cause, Burton added 13 (all in the first quarter), Welsch and Benda 10 each and Whitfield 9.

Halperin Joins the NT
                  Uri Savir ,09/06/2005
Yotam Halperin, who signed in Olimpija Ljubljana last week, will replace Barak Peleg in the national team 12-man roster to Novisad.
Surprising change of plan in the national team, 3 days before Israel takes off to the additional qualifying tournament in Novisad: Yotam Halperin, the young talented playmaker, replaces Barak Peleg, who can't join the trip because of personal medical issues.

Halperin, who moved last week to Olimpija Ljubljana, starred this summer in the U-21 World Championships in Argentina, where he led the tournament in scoring and was elected to the 1st team. Maccabi Tel Aviv's talent has already played with Israel in the European Championship in 2003 and also participated in the qualifiers last summer. He was preferred over Amit Ben-David and Avi Sukar.

Still Perfect             Shlomi Peri   01/09/2005
        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.

Hajaj's Player of the Month             Uri Savir ,31.08.2005
Dror Hajaj, AEK Athens' new player and the newest member of the national team, is "Safsal"'s August Player of the Month. You can't tell by the first look, neither on his stats, but Dror Hajaj is one of the most important players in Zvika Sherf's squad. And to think that only a year from now, he wouldn't have enterred a 25-man roster. But that's his story. Not every player makes a Euroleague team from the little Belgic one, not every player goes Europe after playing several seasons in the second league here. Hajaj was good in Belgium and against Holland, but we pick him because of his great steals and fight he gave in a rather bad game against Belgium, which changed the momentum more than once and secured Israel's place in Novisad.

Israel is Through to the Next Round         Uri Savir ,08/29/2005
It went harder than expected against the aggressive Belgian team, but in the end Israel walk away victorious 69-67, and ensures their Novisad berth.
    Israel 69 - Belgium 67
Tapiro started instead of the ill Nissim, and three-pointers by him and Mizrachi put Israel ahead. However, Van Dorpe had the game of his life with 3 great triples in a 10-0 run, which given the visitors a 24-17 lead.
    Hajaj, great fight
Axel Hervelle from Real Madrid, reached double-double before intermission, and like Van Dorpe nailed 3 early three's. Watson and Burstein got Israel within 6, but M'Benga led a 9-0 run, which set the highest margin at 13 points and at the half it was 43-32, almost similar to the game in Leuven. Once again it was Israel's time to show what a great second half team they are. Burstein took Hervelle on defense, and scored 5 points to spark a 10-3 run. By the end of the quarter, after another great Tapiro basket, it was only 54-55.
    Markovic. Great contribution off the bench
Erez Markovic scored the first 6 points of the final period, twice from Watson's assists, and Israel regained the lead from the first time in almost 30 minutes. The sea-saw began, but Muya with great drives tied the game at 65. Tapiro scored a terrific reverse layup, Hajaj stole the ball from Hervelle underneath and Burstein increased the margin to 4. Muya made 2 foul shots, and Tapiro's three-pointer went in and out, but Shelef's great steal iced the victory, 69-67, and sent Israel to Novisad.
Green had 14, Burstein 13, Tapiro 12, Watson 10, Markovich 6, Shelef 5, Mizrachi 3, Hajaj, Kozikaro and Peleg 2 each. Van Dorpe had 22 in a losing cause, Hervelle added 14 and 12 boards.

Easy Day at the Office         Uri Savir   23.08.2005
Holland looked very bad tonight, and was crushed 60-89 by Israel, who could've won by a much higher margin if they really wanted. Another win against Belgium, and Israel is in Novisad. It was easier than expected. Without 5 of their players, Holland didn't put out a good fight for Israel, who now needs one more win to make the final tournament in Novisad.
A 15-0 run to close the opening period set an amazing result on the scoreboard, maybe a record one, 22-4 to Israel, which was led by Burstein, Shelef, Tapiro (11 points in his first 4 minutes on the floor) and the quick Hajaj. Kingma broke the drought in the second quarter with a surprisingly soft touch, and the Orange team started to get a little more acquainted with the baskets in Nahariya. Israel on the other hand, slowed down a little, and led 46-29 at intermission, after Jansen made the visitors' first three-pointer with the buzzer. The third quarter was still very calm, until Barak Peleg's three-pointer with the period's buzzer sparked a 12-0 game clinching run. Sherf let everyone play, and Avi Sukar, who will play in Nahariya, got his first appearance of the campaign. He was also honored to begin the game's most beautiful play with a 15-meter pass to Shason, who left the ball behind the back to Markovich, who finished with a monster slam. In the end, 89-60 to the Blue-White squad, very similar result to Holland's last trip to Israel (90-61 then). Another win on Monday against Belgium, and Israel will secure the first place in group B.
    For Israel: Tapiro 15 pts, 7 reb, 5 ass , Shelef 12 pts, 8 ass, 4 st , Burstein 10 pts, Hagag 9 pts, 5 ass, Green 9, Markovich 8, Shason 7, Peleg 6, Sukar 4, Mizrahi 3, Nissim 3, Watson 3
    For Netherlands: Flanders 11, Jansen 10, Van Der Kamp 8, Kingma 8, Harris 7, Akerboom 7, Hilliman 6, Timmermans 2, Van Der Holst 1, Ormskerk
    Other matches tonight: Czech Republic defeated Poland 73-64 in group A action, while Hungary joined the Czech and Israel as the third unbeaten team, as they defeated Sweden at home, 75-68.

Israel Overcame Belgium         Uri Savir 20.08.2005
Israel trailed by 12 points at the break, but Burstein scored 21 points after intermission to secure Israel's come from behind 79-75 win in Belgium. At first it looked very bad, but in the end Israel shows great strength in the second half and wins the first game in the last chance tournament on the road, 79-75 in Belgium. Israel was behind 32-44 at the half, after losing Ido Kozikaro to an injury, but 21 points by Burstein after the half, along to Hajaj who played in his homecourt from last season in Leuven, gave the Blue-Whites an important last quarter run. 13 ticks to go, Burstein made two crucial free throws, and Nissim iced the victory from the line.
Burstein 24, Shelef 13, Hajaj and Green 10 each, Tapiro 5, Watson and Kozikaro 4 each, Mizrachi, Nissim and Markovic 3 each. Shason didn't score.

Another Win in Turkey!         Uri Savir ,07.08.2005
For the second time in 4 days, again in front of national TV, Israel defeats Turkey 82-71 in Istanbul Tournament. Israel wraps up their preparation games with another huge victory in Turkey, 82-71, in Istanbul tournament which was held this weekend. Israel lost only to Latvia and Turkey B. Great start by Yaniv Green and Meir Tapiro gave Israel a 23-20 lead, but Okur woke up his team and the crowd and led Turkey to a 40-39 intermission lead. Akyol, who led Turkey's U-18 to the Silver medal, was terrific, but Kozikaro and Mizrachi joined the party and retained the lead. Later, Burstein made some important hoops, Tapiro and Green kept their amazing game and Israel finished a 43-31 second half!
Green had 20, Tapiro 18, Burstein 15, Mizrachi 10, Kozikaro 8, Nissim 6, Watson 5, Shelef, Sukar, Markovic and Hajaj didn't score. Sharon Shason didn't play once again.
Okur had 17 points and 11 boards in a losing cause, Turkoglu added 15, Turkcan and Akyol 11 each.

Israel Crushes Poland, Again             Safsal  06.08.2005    
For the fourth time this summer, Israel has no problems with Poland, 92-67. Shason didn't play because of an incident with Coach Sherf. Tomorrow: the last game against host Turkey. Israel's national team crushed Poland tonight in Istanbul, 92-67. That was the fourth victory of Israel on the Poles this summer, after 3 wins in Israel.  After 20-15 in the first quarter, Israel geared up and ran to a 49-28 lead. The second half was garbage time, which allowed the teams to test new lineups.  Avi Sukar led the team for the first time with 14 points, Shelef added 12, Kozikaro 11, Burstein and Watson 10 each, Mizrachi 9, Markovic and Hajaj 8 each, Green 6, Nissim 4, Tapiro didn't score. Sharon Shason didn't play because of an incident he had with Coach Zvika Sherf yeseterday against Turkey B. Shason, who was a starter in Coach Katzurin's lineup last year, was benched this summer and after Sherf took him out last night, he said something "inappropriate". The player appologised, but Sherf decided to punish him. Tomorrow (18:30), Israel will face host Turkey, which they won 81-71 on Thursday. It'll be Israel's last friendly game before the Additional tournament for the European Championship in Belgrad.

Israel Lost to Turkey B             Shlomi Peri  06.08.2005
After the great win over Turkey's national team on Thursday, Israel start the tournament with a loss to Turkey B, 81-76. Mizrachi had 15.
Israel record its second loss so far in their EC preparations, and it comes from an unexpected team, Turkey B who are preparing for the Universiada Games. The Turks led all along, and every time Israel got close or tied, they responded quickly to retain the lead. Mizrachi had 15, Tapiro 11, Nissim 9, Hajaj and Kozikaro 8 each, Shelef 7, Markovic and Green 6 each, Shason and Sukar 3 each, Watson didn't score. Tomorrow (Saturday, 20:00), Israel will face Poland for the fourth time this summer.

Israel Wins in Turkey         Uri Savir 04.08.2005
Israel started their trip to Turkey on a positive note: 81-71 win over the local team. Israel surprised Turkey tonight on the road in Abdi Ipakci, Istanbul, in a nationally televised game. Israel led all the way, en route to an 81-71 convincing victory. Shelef, on his 100th appearance, had a huge game with 17 points and 5 boards. Burstein added 14 and 6 assists, Green 10 (12 rebs), Watson and Nissim 10 each, Hajaj and Shason 5 each, Markovic and Tapiro 4 each, Kozikaro 2. Turkuglo 15, Kutluay 12 and Turkcan 9 in a losing cause. The teams will meet again on Sunday.

Another Victory in Estonia         Safsal   26.07.2005
For the second time in two days, Israel defeats Estonia on the road, 74-61, and will travel to Latvia still unbeaten. Another win for the Blue-Whites, again in Tallin over local Estonia, 74-61. Israel will continue their trip to Latvia with a clean 5-0 record. Israel led all the way, and extended the margin from period to period: 18-17 after one, 33-30 at the half and 57-50 after three quarters. 2,700 fans watched their host team play without star Martin Muursepp.

Scorers: Burstein 18, Nissim 16, Green 10, Watson 9 (6 rebs), Shelef and Mizrachi 6 each, Hajaj 3, Kozikaro and Markovic 2 each, Shason, Tamir and Sukar didn't score.  Tomorrow Israel will travel to Latvia, where they'll finish the current trip with two games against the home team, which defeated Israel in last year's preliminary.

Poland is Here         Uri Savir  20.07.2005
The Polish national team has landed in Israel to play 3 friendly games this weekend. Poland's national team has landed in Israel yesterday, and already practiced in Ein-Sarah, Nahariya. Poland will also participate in the "Last Chance" tournament.  The 14-man roster: Bartosz Sarzalo, Krzysztof Szubarga, Pawel Wiekiera, Radoslaw Hyzy, Rafal Bigus, Dawid Witos, Piotr Dobrowolski, Hubert Radke, Robert Witka, Filip Dylewicz, Pawel Kowalczuk, Marcin Sroka, Marcin Stefanski and Przemyslaw Frasunkiewicz. Two games will be played in Nahariya, Thursday (20:00) and Friday (16:00), and the last one in Hadar Yosef in Tel Aviv on Saturday (20:30).

Blatt Names a 15-Man Squad         Shlomi Peri 15.06.2005
Israel's NT coach, David Blatt, has named the 15-man squad for the team, who'll start practicing on July 3rd. Israel's new coaching staff, led by head coach David Blatt and his assistants, Erez Edelstein and Motti Daniel, have named their 15-man roster for the upcoming "Last Chance" tournament, whose winner will enter the European Championship.  The players are: Itzik Ochanon, Dror Hajaj, Meir Tapiro, Lior Lubin, Moshe Mizrachi, Amit Tamir, Erez Markovic, Ido Kozikaro, Sharon Shason, Afik Nissim, Tal Burstein, Gur Shelef, Yaniv Green, Barak Peleg and Amit Ben-David.  The team, which will host Belgium and Holland in Nahariya, will start their preparations on July 3rd, in Hadar Yosef.

Israel to host in Nahariya         Uri Savir 29.05.2005
Israel's national team will host Holland and Belgium at "Ein Sara" stadium in Nahariya. Due to constraction works in Yad Eliyahu stadium this summer, Israel's national team will host Belgium and Holland in "Ein Sara", Nahariya.  The three teams will play home and away, and only the winner will make the "Last Chance" tournament in Novisad, SCG on September 11-13, from which the winner will secure the last European Championship berth. This team will enter Group D with host Serbia, Spain and Latvia.

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