The second day of the 2013 EuroBasket saw all 24 teams in action once again, but Thursday's schedule wasn't quite as full of upsets as Wednesday's opener was. A few teams did continue to surprise, however, as has been noted below in our recaps of all 12 of Thursday's games.
First, the interesting ones:
Czech Republic 69, Poland 68 - Down by as many as 14 points and never having control despite a comeback, the Czech Republic waited until the final seconds to shift the momentum in its favor. With four seconds left in the game, Czech forward Lubos Barton drilled a corner three-pointer off an inbounds play on the other side of the court to give the Czechs a 69-68 win against Poland Thursday, the second day of the event.
Poland led 29-15 a few minutes into the second quarter before the Czechs chipped away at the lead to trail just 38-34 at halftime. The second half saw the teams go back-and-forth, but it appeared all along that it was Poland's game to lose.
Washington Wizards forward Jan Vesely, who led the Czech Republic with 23 points, 14 rebounds and four steals, drove to the rim and drew a foul with 10 seconds left and his team down by two. He missed the first shot before hitting the second, but like the Czechs' close game Wednesday against Slovenia, missed free throws by the opponent left the door open. For the second time in two trips to the foul stripe, one of Poland's star big men -- first it was Marcin Gortat and then Maciej Lampe -- went 1-for-2 at the foul line.
That set up the final play that found Barton open in the corner. It was only the Czech's second made three-pointer of 11 attempts.
Gortat scored just five points but passed the ball well out of the post and grabbed nine rebounds. Lampe led Poland with 14 in the loss that dropped the team to 0-2.
Latvia 73, Montenegro 72 - Montenegro pulled off a thrilling last-minute victory Wednesday, but were on the wrong side of that equation in Thursday's loss to Latvia.
Latvian guard Kristaps Janicenoks hit a big three-pointer with just seven seconds left to play and, after a stop on the other end, his 15 points included the game-winning bucket to go with team-high honors. Rolands Freimanis was the only other Latvian in double figures, scoring 12 after contributing 24 points in Wednesday's win.
Former Boston College standout Tyrese Rice missed the potential game-winning layup as time expired, but he still finished with a game-high 24 points and five assists. Blagota Sekulic added 13 points in 15 minutes, but it wasn't enough to counter Latvia's late-game heroics (video included below).
Finland 81, Sweden 60 - The Finnish team struck again Thursday, improving to 2-0 with a victory over Sweden -- largely thanks to a dominating second quarter that saw Finland score 21 to Sweden's four (4!). Neither country is known for its basketball prowess, but there was actually a fair amount of talent on the floor for one of Thursday's first games.
Former Old Dominion standout Gerald Lee Jr. led Finland with 14 points and five rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. Lee's father was actually born in the states, but ended up in Finland to play professional basketball, eventually siring Lee Jr. and playing for the national team as well. The team's best player known for being Finnish -- Petteri Koponen, property of the Dallas Mavericks -- added 10 points and six assists in a much more efficient outing than he had Wednesday.
Sweden's squad was led by Charlotte Bobcats swingman Jeff Taylor, but the second-year pro needed 21 shots to score 19 points and turned the ball over five times in the process. Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko added 12 points and five turnovers of his own as the team's only other player to score more than seven points.
Croatia 77, Georgia 76 - Croatia escaped with a big win, coming back in the final seconds to score the one-point victory over the Georgian National Team.
Ante Tomic, the 7'1 center, scored just seven points, but two of the Utah Jazz's draft picks points were added on the game-winning bucket. Former Charleston standout Dontaye Draper (a three-time member of the Denver Nuggets' Summer League squad) scored a team-high 16 points while Bojan Bogdanovic, Damir Markota and Dario Saric -- the first two being former NBA Draft picks, the later a future NBA draft pick -- all scored in double figures as well.
Georgia was led by 25 points from George Tsintsadze, tying this year's tournament-high point total in the loss. Former UNC Greensboro guard Ricky Hickman added 20 points, too, in a disappointing loss for Georgia.
Belgium 77, Germany 73 - A game that went to overtime didn't exactly include heady play. Belgium, however, came out with the victory despite making a gaffe down the stretch. With a 75-73 lead and less than 20 seconds left, Belgium's Roel Moors fouled Germany's Heiko Schaffartzik well beyond the three-point line, sending Schaffartzik to the line with the chance to tie. He missed both free throws, but Tibor Pleiss got the offensive rebound only to miss the putback before Belgium closed the game with two made free throws by Moors.
Belgium was led by Jonathan Tabu and Sacha Massot's 15 points each. Schaffartzik had 15 points and seven assists and Germany was led by 24-year-old Robin Benzing's 24 points.
And now, the games that don't need quite as much explaining:
Ukraine 74, Israel 67 - A talented Ukrainian squad improved to 2-0 with a win over a disappointing Israel team that has now dropped to 0-2 in the early portion of the tournament. Atlanta Hawks draft pick Sergii Gladyr led his squad with 17 points, newly acquired Phoenix Suns big Slava Kravtsov added 15 points and eight rebounds and Pooh Jeter -- a NBA journeyman -- wasn't really needed, as the floor general added just four points. Houston Rockets swingman Omri Casspi, presumed to be Israel's best player, made only one of his eight shot attempts and finished with six points.
Italy 90, Turkey 75 - Italy and Turkey combined for 20-of-37 shooting from beyond the three-point arc in a game that didn't involve much defense. The Italians were led by Pietro Aradori's 23 points, Alessandro Gentile's 20 points and Spurs guard Marco Belinelli's 17.
After putting up 25 points in Day 1 of the FIBA event, Detroit Pistons signee Luigi Datome couldn't muster a single point and went 0-of-6 from the field. It didn't matter much. The Italians only turned the ball over four times, and even though Turkey wasn't much worse at 10 turnovers, it lost its hold by getting to the free throw line 28 times but only hitting 57 percent.
Serbia 77, Bosnia and Herzegovina 67 - Serbia took control early in the second quarter to build a double-digit lead that was never really threatened. Serbian big man Stefan Markovic played well and spelled former NBA center Nenad Krstic to the tune of 15 points and seven rebounds. Krstic put in 10 points in 16 minutes of play and Golden State Warriors 2013 draft pick Nemanja Nedovic added 11 points and six assists.
Daniel Clark led Great Britain with 16 points, going four-of-six from deep, but the team struggled to keep up with France -- a team with five NBA players in Parker, Batum, Boris Diaw, Nando de Colo and Johan Petro, as well as former NBA big man Alexis Ajinca, who had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Lithuania 75, Macedonia 67 - Mantas Kalnietis scored a game-high 17 points and Lithuania's strong first quarter held off Macedonia. Toronto Raptors big man Jonas Valanciunas pulled down a team-high seven rebounds for Lithuania while scoring 11 points.
Donatas Motiejunas of the Houston Rockets also scored 11 points but pulled down only four rebounds.
Macedonia struggled from the field, shooting 36 percent overall and turning the ball over 15 times.
Slovenia 78, Spain 69 - Slovenia scored 53 points in the second half and picked up a victory over 2011 EuroBasket champion Spain. Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic scored a game-high 18 points, taking advantage of Spain's backcourt defense. Dragic also had a game-high seven assists and team-high six rebounds.
Gasol scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds, shouldering the frontcourt responsibilities without big brother Pau Gasol or Serge Ibaka playing for Spain through the tournament. Rubio scored just six points and had one assist, while Calderon finished with 14 points (four-of-five from deep) and one assist.
For good measure, here are the last two buckets of the game courtesy of Goran "The Dragon" Dragic:
Greece 80, Russia 71 - Rounding out the second day of action at EuroBasket, Greece held off a fourth-quarter push from Russia and picked up a 80-71 victory. Greece had five players in double digits, while only Alexey Shved (game-high 17 points) and Cleveland Cavaliers rookie draftee Sergey Karasev (10 points) were able to break into double-digit territory.
Karasev, a noted three-point specialist, struggled from beyond the arc, missing all four of his attempts from deep.