Italy came back to force overtime against Germany and emerged triumphant 89-82 in front of a sold-out Berlin Arena on Wednesday to punch their ticket to the EuroBasket 2015 Final Phase in Lille.
Turning Point: After a Paul Zipser dunk had tied the scores at 82, Danilo Gallinari repeated in almost identical fashion the action which had sent the game into overtime earlier and, with 44 seconds remaining in the extra period, he pulled up in front of the German forward from the right wing and lifted Italy to an 84-82 lead. On the other end, Dennis Schröder split the Italian defence for the umpteenth time but this time he tripped and Italy recovered possession. Before Germany had time to lament the lost ball, Marco Belinelli calmly paced down the court and nailed a three from the top of the key to make it 87-82 with 25 seconds on the clock.
Stats Don't Lie: On a night where both sides appeared rather disinterested to fight on the offensive glass and combined for a mere 19 second-chance points in 45 minutes of play, Italy punished the 11 German turnovers severely by scoring 20 vital points. Italy themselves committed nine turnovers, but Germany only scored six points off them.
Game Hero: Danilo Gallinari would not be denied on Wednesday. He brought Italy back in the third quarter when Germany earned a 10-point gap and threatened to run away and the took the big shots at the end of regulation and of overtime. The Italian superstar finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Bottom Line: Italy will play Serbia on Thursday in the game that will determine the winner of Group B, but both these teams have secured a berth in the next phase. Germany dropped to 1-3 in Group B but can still qualify, provided they defeat Spain on Thursday.