Group:  B | 07.08.2013, 20:00h
Group:  B | 07.08.2013, 20:00h
Venue: Sines |
Spectators: 1100 |
Referees: Robert Lottermoser (GER), Francisco Araña (ESP), Roberto Chiari (ITA)


Dutch Hold On For Vital Win At Portugal

11. Robin Smeulders (Netherlands)
Robin Smeulders torched Portugal for19 points and 7 rebounds

The Netherlands took a giant step towards the semi-finals of the EuroBasket 2015 1st Qualification Round on Wednesday by emerging victorious 59-57 against Portugal on the road.

The Dutch are now installed in first place in Group B with two wins in as many games, while Portugal stand at 1-1 and Estonia are yet to tick the win column after their first two encounters.

Once the Netherlands took their first lead in Wednesday's game, on a Robin Smeulders hook-shot with 7:38 left to play in the opening quarter, they never allowed their hosts to reclaim the initiative.

It was precisely Smeulders and his fellow Dutch frontcourt players that enabled their team to stay in the driver's seat in this low-scoring affair, as they managed to deliver the goods when the ball went inside - the Netherlands scored 32 points in the paint, Portugal only 16.

The Portuguese on the other hand had to search for solutions from long range but only converted nine of their 31 three-point attempts.

They hosts came within just three points, 57-54, on two Claudio Fonseca free throws exactly two minutes before the final buzzer, and then both sides wasted consecutive possessions until Sean Cunningham split two free throws to give the Dutch a four-point cushion, 26 seconds from time.

Fonseca, with an and-one play, reduced the gap to 58-57 and gave hope to the home crowd in Sines with 17 seconds left on the clock.

Kees Akerboom split again two free throws to make it 59-57 for the Dutch, but Portugal's Miguel Miranda went for the three-pointer to win the game on the last possession and his shot did not drop in.

Smeulders finished with 19 points and seven rebounds and fellow big man Joshua Duinker had 11 points and a game-high eight boards for the Dutch.

For Portugal, Joao Gomes collected 15 points and five rebounds and Fonseca with Joao Santos had 10 points each.


Quotes Portugal vs. Netherlands

Netherlands head coach Toon Van Helfteren
"It was a tough game to play. Knew we had to fight hard. Portugal is a very good team and it was surprising to get a win away in Portugal.

Netherlands player Worthy de Young
"We came here with low expectations from everybody. We are from a small country, we are young but we have a lot of energy and we brought that today and that was what made us successfull. We work hard to this end and to win at their place means a lot to us."

Portugal head coach Mario Palma
"We are not happy. We made a lot of small mistakes. I don't know why, but we lost balls that we usually don't lose, we missed easy shots. It was those small mistakes that didn't allow us to win a game that was levelled and, even we did good in defense, they were lucky today and won but in normal conditions we would win the game."

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