Latvia advanced to the EuroBasket quarter-finals for the first time since 2001 after holding off a misfiring Slovenia 73-66 in Lille on Saturday.
Turning Point: Latvia had missed seven consecutive three-point attempts, stretching back to the first half, when Kristaps Janicenoks connected from long range following a long rebound midway through the quarter. This sparked an 8-0 run which opened the first double-digit lead at 67-57 with 4:19 remaining and gave them the edge they needed to stave off Slovenia.
Stats Don't Lie: Despite reeling in 13 offensive rebounds, seven more than their opponents, Slovenia could only convert nine second-chance points. Jurij Zdovc's men did score 15 points from turnovers, but this too could have been more with Latvia giving the ball up 16 times. They shot 36% from the floor overall.
Game Hero: Kaspars Berzins missed Latvia's must-win game against Belgium two years ago as his team missed out on a place in the last eight and made amends with 13 points, six rebounds and five blocks. But once again, it was Janis Strelnieks, who ran the show for his team, dictating the tempo and flirting with a triple-double before finishing with 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds, having also produced big plays down the stretch.
The Bottom Line: Latvia appeared to play with more discipline on both ends of the floor than the side that needed a final-day victory against Estonia to progress from Group D in Riga, and their reward is a trip to the quarter-finals. Slovenia's run of five straight appearances in the last eight comes to an end with Zoran Dragic ultimately given too much to do as not enough of his team-mates stepped up on the big stage.
They Said: "I was very sad not to be able to participate in our most important game at the last EuroBasket. It was still in my memory before this competition started. It gave me extra motivation" - Berzins.