|08 September 2012|
|Lior Eliyahu stood out with a triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists|
Israel had a slow start to their EuroBasket Qualification Round but on Saturday night looked to have done enough to reach next year's big tournament in Slovenia.
Arik Shivek's side won convincingly at home over the Slovak Republic, 106-73.
That result, coupled with Sweden's loss to Germany in Group B earlier in the day, has virtually assured the Israelis of advancing to Slovenia as, at worst, one of the four best third-place teams in the Qualifying Round.
In their game against Slovakia, Israel only led 49-42 at half-time but then outscored the visitors 32-8 in the third quarter to take a vice-like grip on the contest.
Six players ended up hitting double digits in points for Israel, with Omri Casspi and Lior Eliyahu pouring in 18 apiece.
Eliyahu also had 10 rebounds and 12 assists.
Alexander Tyus finished with 16 points and 11 boards for the winners.
Israel won the battle of the boards, 45-30, and shot 10 of 22 (45.5%) from the arc to just 37.9% (11 of 29) for the Slovakians.
Yogev Ohayon also had nine assists to go with his eight points for the victors.
For Israel not to make it to Slovenia, they would need to lose their last game against Serbia in Belgrade on Tuesday by 89 points or more, which would put them in fourth.
Even then, Israel could lose by that huge margin and still advance if Estonia do not win against Iceland in their clash.
Serbia will need to win to advance because if they do not and Estonia win, then the Serbians miss out on Slovenia.