Point guard Maodo Lo shined for Germany, and center Mike Tobey dominated in Slovenia jersey as both teams reached their respective Olympic Qualifying Tournament finals on Saturday. Meanwhile, EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic paced Serbia in their semifinal win that will see them take on Italy next. Czech Republic stunned Canada in an overtime thriller, while Turkey and Greece square off later. They all seek to join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, United States, Iran, France, Spain and Australia, which have already qualified to the 20th Olympic Basketball Tournament at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
OQT Victoria: Czechs win a thriller, Greece rallies
Czech Republic edged tournament host Canada 101-103 in overtime on a banked in off-balanced jumper by Tomas Satoransky with 1.4 seconds left to move into the finals where they will play against Greece. The Czechs had victory in their hands at the end of regulation, leading 88-94 and holding possession with 22 seconds to go. But Canada’s Andrew Wiggins used a pair of Czech missed free throws and a turnover to score a three-point play and hit a three-pointer that sent the game into overtime, 94-94. Canada scored the first 5 points in extra time, but a triple from Blake Schilb capped a 0-7 run that regain Czech lead, before Satoransky scored a tough game winner. Schilb netted 31 points on 7-for-12 three-pointers, Satoransky scored 18, while Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul center Jan Vesely had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists before fouling out late in the regulation. R.J. Barrett scored 23 points for Canada. In the second game, Greece rallied from an early double-digit deficit to beat Turkey 63-81. Turkey raced out of the gates and with help from new FC Barcelona center Sertac Sanli and his former teammate Bugrahan Tuncer opened 22-8 lead after 10 minutes. However, it was all Greece after that. Giannoulis Larentzakis of Olympiacos Piraeus knocked down a pair of second-quarter triples, and Greece used its defense to win the middle two quarters 25-43 before racing away to big win by scoring 30 points in the fourth quarter. Barcelona playmaker Nick Calathes paced Greece with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Olympiacos point guard Kostas Sloukas had 15 points and 9 assists, while Larenzakis finished with 14 points. Panathinaikos OPAP Athens center Georgios Papagiannis collected 14 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks, while AX Armani Exchange big man Dinos Mitoglou had 10 points and 12 rebounds. For Turkey, Tuncer had 8 points, while Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul sharpshooter Melih Mahmutoglu netted 7 points.
10 punti e 12 rimbalzi per Dinos Mitoglou nella vittoria della Grecia sulla Turchia a Victoria, 81-63.
— Olimpia Milano (@OlimpiaMI1936) July 4, 2021
OQT Belgrade: Italy, Serbia to clash for Olympics berth
Italy and the host nation Serbia are the finalists of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade. Italy was the first to book its place on Saturday with a semifinal 79-59 win over the Dominican Republic. Simone Fontecchio of ALBA Berlin, Stefano Tonut of Umana Reyer Venice and Achille Polonara of Fenerbahce scored all of their points in the first two and a half quarters, pacing Italy to start the third quarter on a 19-2 run, as the team opened a 61-32 lead and never looked back. Fontecchio led all scorers with 17 points, going 3-for-3 from downtown, and also had 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Tonut scored 14 points, while Polonara contributed with 9 points without a miss, and grabbed 5 rebounds. Serbia defeated Puerto Rico 102-84 but did not seal the deal until the final quarter. Puerto Rico was within 74-68 in the final minute of the third quarter, but EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul helped Serbia finish the quarter on a 5-0 run, and the visitor never got within single digits again. Micic led the winners with 21 points and 8 assists, and two other former EuroLeague MVP played big roles in a victory, with Nemanja Bjelica netting 18 points while Milos Teodosic of Virtus Segafredo Bologna finishing with 11 points and 10 assists. Danilo Andjusic who wore uniform of JL Bourg en Bresse last season scored 15 points. On the losing end, Gary Browne of Dolomiti Energia Trento had 12 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds.
— Olimpia Milano (@OlimpiaMI1936) July 3, 2021
OQT Kaunas: Slovenia, Lithuania reach finals
Slovenia and Lithuania reached the final game of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas. In the first semifinal on Saturday, Slovenia beat Venezuela 98-70 after being in front from the start behind former Turkish Airlines EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic who kept connecting with Valencia Basket center Mike Tobey. Slovenes pulled away for good in the third quarter when they turned 46-41 halftime lead into a 67-47 margin and cruised the rest of the way. Tobey shined, leading all scorers with 27 points and collecting 12 rebounds, while Doncic finished with 23 points, 13 assists and 9 rebounds. Zoran Dragic of TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz added 12 points in a victory. Later in the day, Lithuania defeated Poland 88-69 to join Slovenia in the finals. The tournament hosts allowed just 6 third-quarter points to pull away to a double-digit lead, before finishing the job in the fourth quarter. Mantas Kalnietis of Zalgiris Kaunas had 14 points in a victory, Zalgiris guard Rokas Jokubaitis scored 13, while CSKA Moscow’s Marius Grigonis finished with 10 points. A.J. Slaugher of Herbalife Gran Canaria led Poland with 19 points. His Gran Canaria teammate and 7DAYS EuroCup Rising Star Aleksander Balcerowski scored 10 in a losing effort, as did Mateusz Ponitka of Zenit St Petersburg.
— Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana (@KKCedOL) July 3, 2021
OQT Split: Lo rallies Germany past the hosts
Germany is a win away from clinching a place in the Tokyo Olympics after ALBA point guard Maodo Lo had 29 points and 8 assists in come-from-behind 86-76 win over Croatia on Saturday. The tournament hosts held 58-68 lead early in the fourth quarter, but CSKA big man Johannes Voigtmann strung together 5 points to spark a big rally. Lo nailed a triple before Zalgiris sharpshooter Niels Gifey, Fenerbahce forward Danilo Barthel and Lo led the way in a game-ending 19-2 run to pull out a victory. Barthel finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds, helping Germany to book a place in the finals. Bojan Bogdanovic had 38 points for Croatia, and Mario Hezonja of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens scored 14 in a losing effort. For a place in Tokyo, Germany will play against Brazil which ran past Mexico 102-74 in the first semifinal. Vitor Benite led Brazil with 22 points, while the two-time EuroLeague champion Gustavo Ayon scored 16 points for Mexico.
Seen at: Euroleague.net