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Group:  F | 20.08.2014, 20:15h
Group:  F | 20.08.2014, 20:15h
79-76
17 - 1812 - 1922 - 1314 - 1514 - 11
17 - 1812 - 1922 - 1314 - 1514 - 11
Venue: Riga (LAT) |
Spectators: 5214 |
Referees: Srdan Dozai (CRO), Tomas Jasevicius (LTU), Markos Elias Michaelides (SUI)

GAME REPORT


Latvia Survive OT Thriller, Stay Perfect

Janis Strelnieks (Latvia)
Janis Strelnieks and Latvia beat Sweden in overtime

Kaspars Berzins had to come up with a colossal display to help Latvia force overtime and eventually secure a 79-76 win over Sweden on Day 4 of EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round Group F.

The die-hard Swedish arrived in Latvia with just one win in three games but made clear they would fight to the last man as they grabbed a 35-23 lead late in the first quarter.

Berzins and Janis Blums instigated a 13-2 Latvian burst at the start of the third quarter and the hosts claimed a 42-39 lead on a Martins Meiers jumper wit 4:52 remaining in the third quarter.

The two sides exchanged punches from then on until Tobias Borg, with two shots from the charity stripe 47 seconds from the end of regulation, gave Sweden a 64-60 cushion.

Janis Timma sunk two free-throws 37 seconds from the end of regulation to reduce Sweden's lead to 64-62 and on the other end of the floor, Berzins came up with a huge block, his fourth of the night, as Joakim Kjellbom was attempting to score.

Latvia were presented with the chance to tie the scores or push ahead but, with nine seconds left on the clock, Janis Strelnieks turned the ball over and had no chance but to foul Jonathan Person.

The Swedish guard went to the line and made his first free throw to increase the gap to 65-62 but missed the second.

Latvia got the rebound and Sweden fouled Strelnieks, with just three seconds left on the clock.

He made his first shot from the stripe and missed the second for Meiers to come up with the offensive board.

He missed the lay-up in traffic, but deus-ex-machina Berzins tipped the ball in, right at the buzzer, to tie the scores at 65 and send the game to overtime.

Latvia pushed ahead immediately in the extra period but Anton Gaddefors drilled a huge triple with four seconds left on the clock to reduce to 77-76.

The hosts called a time-out and once play resumed, Sweden immediately fouled Kristaps Janicenoks.

The experienced guard kept his calm at the line and made both his free-throws and Sweden did not manage to fire off a desperation shot in the two seconds that elapsed until the final buzzer.

Berzins finished with a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds while Strelnieks added 14 points, six boards and six assists for the winners.

For Sweden, Kjellbom collected a double-double of 19 points and 13 boards and Gaddefors added 15 points in losing efforts.

 

 

COACH QUOTES


Quotes: Latvia vs. Sweden

Anton Gaddefors, Sweden
"Hard to say anything, it was a tough game. I think we got the game where we wanted it. The game was decided by extremely small details."

Vedran Bosnic, Sweden Head Coach
"Difficult to say a lot about a game like this. I'm very proud how we played against a strong Latvian team. We lead during most of the game and made it difficult for the Latvian team. I am very sad because we lost two games in the last seconds [also against Romania]. Not many teams can come to Latvia and dominate for 40 minutes, especially considering how young our team is. Latvia, in my mind, is a Top-8 team in Europe, so again - I am proud of my team and my guys and I think we deserved to win at least one of the last two games, but that's basketball."

Ainars Bagatskis, Latvia Head Coach
"After the last game against Romania we tried to emphasize that the players should not be calm. I cannot say we played bad in the first half, although sometimes we might have cheated on defence, by over helping. Sweden played terrifically capitalizing on our mistakes and on top of that we got nervous since our offence wasn't running smoothly. Of course, you could say luck was on our side at the end of regulation, but I am confident that only a mentally strong and confident team can win close games like this. Finally, today we played 6 against 5, meaning that the support of our fans was terrific."

Janis Blums, Latvia
"We expected a tough game. After the away game in Sweden we understood that they would come to Latvia to fight - I got hit in the face in the first five minutes of the game, two of my other teammates suffered as well. Like in Sweden, we could not find our offence and we have to credit the Swedish defence for that - they played very aggressive. After halftime, we became the more aggressive team and got a little bit of help from the basketball God. During overtime, our fans propelled us to the victory. I would like to thank them for the great support. I also tip my hat off to the Swedes - they played good basketball."

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

36.1%

26/72
FG
M/A

43.3%

26/60

47.2%

17/36
FG2P
M/A

45.5%

20/44

25.0%

9/36
FG3P
M/A

37.5%

6/16

75.0%

18/24
FT
M/A

81.8%

18/22

41

17/24
RT
RO/RD

42

9/33

18

AS

15

12

TO

19

10

ST

2

5

BS

6

23

PF

26

79

Pts

76

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