Slovenia, Lithuania, Spain, Russia reach Euro quarters

Updated: September 18, 2005, 6:12 PM ET
Associated Press

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- Slovenia, Spain, Russia and defending champion Lithuania advanced to the quarterfinals of the European Championship on Sunday.

Slovenia and Lithuania advanced with 3-0 records, while Russia and Spain won their groups despite losing their final preliminary round games.

In Tuesday's playoffs to determine the other quarterfinalists, Serbia-Montenegro plays France, Germany meets Turkey, Greece faces Israel and Croatia takes on Italy.

The four winners of each group advanced directly to the quarterfinals, while second- and third-place teams went into an additional playoff round to advance.

Dirk Nowitzki's 3-pointer with 27 seconds left lifted Germany to a 51-50 win over Russia -- the only time Germany led in a game marked by poor shooting.

Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks' All-Star, finished with 24 points and 19 rebounds. He shot 1-for-6 from 2-point range and 5-for-12 from beyond the arc. Russia's Andrei Kirilenko, of the Utah Jazz, had two key turnovers late in the game.

Germany scored 16 points in the first half and was scoreless for the first six minutes of the third quarter. Russia struggled with its shooting and led by 10 before Nowitzki started hitting his shots.

Nowitzki made two free throws to tie it at 45-all, but Russia stayed just ahead until Kirilenko slipped on the dribble and turned the ball over. Nowitzki drew a foul and made two free throws to cut Russia's lead to 50-48. Kirilenko again slipped and lost the ball and Nowitzki hit the winning 3-pointer.

Victor Khryapa, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, missed a 3-point attempt on Russia's last possession. Kirilenko also had 12 points and seven rebounds, while Jon Robert Holden, a naturalized American-born point guard, had 13 points for Russia.

Despite the loss, Russia (2-1) won Group A in Vrsac. Germany (2-1) was second and Italy (2-1) was third. Italy beat winless Ukraine 99-62.

Lithuania beat winless Bulgaria 92-79 to finish undefeated in Group B. Croatia (2-1) finished second by beating Turkey 80-67, helped by a 29-5 scoring advantage in the third quarter.

Lithuania got 17 points from Simas Jasaitis and led by 20 by the sixth minute.

Nikola Vujcic of Maccabi Tel Aviv led Croatia with 20 points and Gordan Giricek of the Utah Jazz added 16.

In Group C in Belgrade, Slovenia got 18 points from Jaka Lakovic in a 68-58 win over France (1-2).

Greece (2-1) took second place by beating winless Bosnia-Herzegovina 67-50. France finished third.

Rasho Nesterovic of the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Slovenia.

Two San Antonio players played on opposing sides, and Tony Parker ended up on the losing team. Parker has not been a factor in the tournament, so far. Parker finished with two points, two rebounds and one assist.

Boris Diaw of the Atlanta Hawks led France with 16 points and seven rebounds and Antoine Rigaudeau had 12 points.

In Novi Sad, host Serbia-Montenegro (2-1) beat winless Latvia 82-67 to finish second in Group D behind Spain (2-1), a 85-77 loser to Israel (2-1), which finished third.

Tal Burnstein had 19 points and Gur Shelef added 15 for Israel.

Jorge Garbajosa scored 21 points and had nine rebounds for Spain, which also got 20 points and nine rebounds from center Felipe Reyes. But guard Juan Carlos Navarro, who averaged a tournament-high 31 points in the first two games, was held to nine.

Igor Rakocevic led Serbia-Montenegro with 14 points, while Marko Jaric of the Minnesota Timberwolves had 12 for the reigning world champion. Kristaps Valters had 12 for Latvia


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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