EuroBasket 2011 tips off in Panevezys with the Spain vs. Poland game. The defending champions are bringing years of experience in Euroleague and NBA stars — among them the Gasol Brothers, Juan Carlos Navarro, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez and Felipe Reyes — while relatively unheralded Team Poland hopes to compete without Marcin Gortat.
BallinEurope will be checking in to update on the action throughout the match, so click below the break, stay right here and refresh often! Happy Eurobasket, all!
Pregame. Gee, if you just take a look at these numbers provided by FIBA, it seems equal: Average height of Spanish players, 2.00m; Polish players, 1.97m. Spain’s average age, 26.3 years; Poland’s, 25.4.
Player introductions now happening; unfortunately, a bit of an empty house, with the Poland supporters well outnumbering the Spanish backers.
The marquee game of the day (in BiE’s opinion) is also about to tip off in Siauliai: Serbia vs. Italy. Montenegro-FYR Macedonia and Belgium-Georgia go off at 2.30pm CET…
First quarter: It’ll be Pau vs. Szymon Szewczyk for the tip…and Spain gets it. First bucket (by Marc Gasol) nullified with a travel…nervous energy?
Poland comes out strong, first lead of the game at 2-0 on a jam by Szewczyk.
8.42: Pau puts in Spain’s first points on free throws. 2-2.
7.41: Early observations: Poland came to play, Pau’s giving up the body, having drawn two PFs already.
Whoa, Italy’s already out to a 9-0 lead…
6.58: Poland now has five personal fouls, with Pau drawing yet another. Szewczyk with two.
4.45: Pau already with eight of Spain’s 13 points. Spain up, 13-9.
3.39: First substitutions include Serge Ibaka and Ricky Rubio for Spain. And Rubio soon thereafter notches his first steal.
3.30: The first timeout (by Poland) has the scoreboard at 18-9.
2.59: For the second time, Thomas Kelati hits in the lane as the shot clock expires. Seven points for him.
0.45: Now Poland is beating Spain in the transition game…22-15, Spain, though.
And that’s the score at the end of the first quarter … Spain’s taking out of Poland’s big guys has completely made the difference, with the Gasols especially suddenly able to score at will underneath and the lane wide open for Spain to do as they please.
Second quarter: Piotr Szczota opens the scoring with a nice baby hook in the paint … Poland needs more aggression from the likes of him. Spain, 22-17.
8.57: And now Poland drawing the offensive foul on Rubio … putting a little fear into the defending champs here…Spain, 22-19.
Whoa, in Siauliai, Serbia overtook Italy early in the second quarter there, now up 23-22.
7.44: Ibaka brings the Spanish aggression back to draw the foul in a drive through the lane, makes the free throw for a 27-19 lead.
6.21: Ibaka throws down a dunk for his sixth and seventh points; he’s now Spain’s second-high scorer.
5.20: Navarro unbelievably with his first points … 33-21, Spain. Pulling away…?
4.48: Now both Gasols on the floor for Espana … and Kelati cannot work the magic this time, missing a jumper at the 24-second buzzer. 37-23, Spain.
4.01: Szewczyk finally able to reenter the game after his three PFs in the first six minutes of play.
3.24: What was that about Navarro’s first points? He now has Spain’s last seven. Timeout, Poland, with Spain up to a 40-25 lead.
1.33: Slight scoring drought broken by Pau’s unstoppable spin move on the baseline past Adam Hrycaniuk, plus the foul, plus the FT. 42-26, Spain.
0.37: Give Poland this: they ain’t going down easy. Lukasz Koszarek gives up the body on a breakaway to hit the layup and draw a second foul on Jose Calderon. Spain up 42-31 with the FT.
0.00: At the half, it’s 44-31 to Spain. BiE would sure be hesitant to suggest any advice to Poland, as Spain seems to be doing just everything right.
The halftime stats say they’re outrebounding Poland 21-11 overall, including a huge 8-3 on the offensive glass. And while the Spanairds haven’t yet found their three-point touch at just 1-of-8 for the game, Poland is a desperate 2-of-12 in reply. Both sides shot an equal 13-of-29 overall, but Spain has an incredible edge in fouls, with 20 trips to the line against just four for the Polish. And those 14 additional successes are making the difference in score right now.
Elsewhere, Serbia continues to handle Italy after a spluttering start, 35-29; Georgia’s way up on Belgium in the second quarter at 37-21; and BiE’s dark horse candidate FYR Macedonia is holding off Montenegro at 28-25.
And now it’s Serbia 43, Italy 31?!?!? That’s, what, a 43-22 run? Yikes.
Third quarter: Aaaaaaaaaand the third quarter begins. With Pau and Marc failing to connect for a bad turnover.
9.40: Hrycaniuk gets his third PF, now the fourth Poland player to “earn” number three.
9.05: First points for Spain in in the half? Who else? Pau, now with 17. Spain up, 46-31.
7.17: The cooled-off Kelati misses a jumper from the corner, but Hrycaniuk draws the third PF on San Emeterio, who has shown little thus far…Spain 46-34…and finally San Emeterio gets his points (must’ve heard BiE typing!) to make it 48-34.
6.21: Pau to Marc. Too easy that time. 50-34. Pau chases this with another spin move on the baseline to draw Pawel Leonczyk’s third foul … Poland’s gonna run out of big bodies in this one at this rate…
4.19: Szewczyk’s finally heating up again, now that every other player has caught up to his foul total. He’s got the last five points for Poland. Spain up, 53-41.
3.04: Another foul by Poland; every player with over three minutes of court time has amassed at least two fouls except Koszarek, and five have three or more. Spain, 57-44.
0.00: It seems like every time Pau leaves the floor, there’s a mini-comeback by Poland. They’ve closed the gap to 61-52 with one quarter to play…
Fourth quarter: 8.50: Pau again starts off the scoring for Spain in a quarter, making it 17 for him.
8.29: Kelati nearly dances through the lane, makes the shot and manages to draw the foul. Made FT and then *a steal and a follow for Poland*! Incredible: 63-57, Spain.
7.47: After a timeout, it’s Pau to staunch the bleeding with a three from the side. 66-57, Spain.
7.27: Uh oh, the foul trouble seems to be starting again for Poland. First Kelati, then Dardan Berisha … followed by Sergio Llull bailing them out of a possible 24-second clock violation with a foul of his own.
6.36: Rubio with his second steal, but he cannot make the layup. No problem, though, as — guess what — another Polish foul ultimately makes in 68-57 to Spain.
6.02: San Emeterio fouls out. Five fouls, three points and it’s incredible he left the game before anyone except Szewczyk…
5.45: Pau reenters game after suffering a cut earlier. Never a good sign for Poland in this game.
5.20: With two FTs made, Navarro is now second high-scorer for Spain (and in the game) with 16 points.
4.29: Ouch. Hrycaniuk kills a rally with an offensive foul on an attempted pick-and-roll. Spain, 70-63.
3.30: Szczotka with a 20-footer to make it 70-65! And Pau hasn’t touched the ball since the beginning of the quarter, it seems. Until these two free throws (both made). 72-65.
3.10: Nice feed to Hrycaniuk underneath makes it 72-67. And Poland stops the drive.
2.26: Leonczyk with a fifth foul sends him out and Marc to the line … looking nervous, he misses on 1 of 2. 73-67 to Spain. And Kelati in the land makes it 73-69!
1.49: Naturally, Pau draws another foul on the little jumper — he’s looking a bit weary as he misses the first, makes the second FT.
1.30: Oh, Navarro may just have hit the dagger three there … Spain, 77-69.
1.20: Though Koszarek brings it back to five, steals the ball, gets fed for another two. 77-74!
0.54: Again. Gasol for two, plus the FT. 80-74, Spain. A silly foul from Marc puts Koszarek at the line for two more points. Koszarek has the last seven points for Poland, who’s down by just four.
0.26: Navarro misses on the jumper, and Calderon fouls Kelati … my god, Poland down by just two…
0.16: Navarro puts down two FTs. Spain, 82-78, as we enter the definition of crunch time. Gee, neither side wants to leave the timeout huddle; wonder why…
0.00: That’s the right number. Figures. Lapeta fouls Pau, fouls out, gets Spain the game at 83-78.
Nice start to the Eurobasket … be back shortly for Turkey-Portugal.