01 - 18
September 2022
5 Ivan Tkachenko (UKR)
Game Report
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Ukraine qualify for Round of 16, leave Italy feeling blue

MILAN (Italy) – Ukraine’s fourth quarter surge secured a 84-73 win over Italy on Monday that guaranteed their presence in the knockout phase of FIBA EuroBasket 2022.

Not what the home fans in Milan had anticipated, especially when their favorites were 34-24 clear in the second period.

Yet Ukraine chipped valiantly away at the group hosts' advantage, trailing 42-38 at half-time, then leveling twice in the third quarter before accelerating incessantly clear in the fourth.

A 9-0 run pushed the Ukrainian side 70-59 ahead as Italy’s shooters were pressurized and ultimately corralled, with Svi Mykhailiuk the chief instigator.

Achille Polonara had 17 points and 7 rebounds but it was a night on which the Azzurri’s offense ran dry.

Turning Point: Trailing 53-50 with 4:23 left in the third, Ukraine outscored Italy 20-6 over the subsequent 10 minutes and 30 seconds, a spell when the hosts went 3-for-17 from the field and did not take a single trip to the foul line. 

TCL Player of the Game: Svi Mykhailiuk had 25 points on 9-for-18 shooting, including three  three-pointers, adding 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Across the court, he proved irresistible.  Dirk Nowitzki, who was in attendance and appearing on Italian television, would surely have been impressed.

Stats Don’t Lie:
  In the second half, Ukraine converted 18 of 30 from the field and dominated in the paint. Italy shot a mere 12 of 35 over that spell. Ukraine scored 55.2 percent of their attempted field goals, their highest scoring ratio from the field in a EuroBasket game.

Bottom Line: Ukraine, unbeaten in three games, are bound for Berlin next weekend. Italy, with one win from three, have work to do against Croatia on Tuesday - and they have pushed the door ajar to winless Estonia and Great Britain.

They said:
“Our guards down the stretch made huge plays. And our bigs did a great job with secondary screens and rebounding the ball. It was a huge game for our confidence going forward. We know we're 100% and have made it already to the next round, but it's a quick turnaround. You got to forget about this stuff and just move on. We've got Greece tomorrow.” - Ukraine center Alex Len

“Basketball starts from the guards, from the ball handlers. We were preparing for this, and this was the biggest line-up we could put on the court. We became bigger. We controlled the boards and we could use a different kind of line-up on defense with big guards. That’s worked.“- Ukraine head coach Ainars Bagatskis

"We played without energy. We were a little bit tired in the game. Against Greece, we expended a lot of energy in that game, especially mentally. So it was not so easy after two days to play a mentally tough game,. Physically, they killed us. But that’s European basketball. You need to play every day. It’s not easy. But now we need to come tomorrow, reset and play great basketball. But Ukraine played amazingly." - Italy head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco