The Georgia team lost to Belgium 76:79 (11:16, 21:22, 19:20, 19:12, 6:9) after overtime in Group A of the European Basketball Championship for men. Thus, after the first day of the tournament, the first three places in the temporary ranking in the group are occupied by Spain, Turkey and Belgium. Georgia and Montenegro follow, and the national team of Bulgaria is the last at the moment.
The hosts started confidently, supported by the audience, who filled Tbilisi Arena for the first time before today, and led 11:9. With a run of seven unanswered points, Belgium turned to 16:11 midway through the first quarter. The gap reached 12 points midway through the second half, but the Georgians made up some of their deficit to 32:38 at the break.
A contested third period followed, in which Belgium’s lead remained below 10 points at 58:51 after 30 minutes of play. Kakhaber Incharadze reduced Georgia to 55:61 with two accurate free kicks with less than 7 minutes remaining, and in the middle of the last part with two consecutive baskets by Sandro Mamukelashvili, the difference fell to 2 points – 60:62.
The streak for the hosts continued with 4 consecutive points by Tad McFadden and Georgia turned it to 64:62 in their favor. Opponents exchanged one three-pointer each, and two and a half minutes before the end, the Georgians had a 2-point lead. The basketball players of Belgium did not give up and with a basket by Ismael Bako took the lead with 70:69 with 77 seconds remaining, and after a 70:70 tie in regular time, an extension followed.
In it, the hosts could not rely on Goga Bitadze, who had injured his right ankle, and less than two minutes to the end of the extra five, the score was tied again – 74:74. The Belgians took a 2-point lead, and with 11.2 seconds left, Mamukelashvili made two fouls to make it 76-76, before Jonathan Tabeau hit a crushing 3-pointer for the hosts 3 seconds before the end of overtime. In the last attack, the Georgians did not succeed and the victory went to Belgium.
Jonathan Tabyu and Jean-Marc Mwema scored the most for the winners with 14 points each, and Sandro Mamukelashvili finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for Georgia.
Friday is a rest day for the teams in Group A.