Bosnia & Herzegovina struck a hammer blow against FYROM on the final day of EuroBasket qualifying.
FYROM needed a win to seure top spot in Group B and a place at EuroBasket 2007 in Spain. The defeat leaves FYROM in second place which means that they will have to go through additional qualifying, along with Bosnia & Herzegovina, who finished in third position.
The loss was all the more bitter for FYROM considering they led the game for 39 minutes.
Vrbica Stefanov was superb for the visitors and his 16 first half points helped the visitors to a 38-34 first half lead.
A 10-3 run to close the third period gave FYROM a 58-51 lead, and a Stefanov jumper and Todor Gecevski three-point play saw the advantage swell to 10 points at the start of the fourth, 63-53.
Just as FYROM looked to be running away with the game, Bosnia & Herzegovina came back to life.
Veteran guard Damir Mrsic drained a three, and forward Kenjan Bajramovic hit two free throws followed by another three-pointer to cut the lead to just two points, 63-61.
The teams traded baskets before FYROM threatened once again to run away with the game. Stefanov hit six straight points in a 6-1 run which saw FYROM take a five-point advantage, 69-64, with 3:13 to play.
Bosnia & Herzegovina then tied the game with a 5-0 run of their own, 69-69, and took their first lead when Damir Krupalija split a pair from the line, 72-71.
Stefanov had a chance to put his side back in front, but he made one of two from the free throw line, and Bajramovic punished the error with two free throws of his own to put his team in front 74-72.
With just 35 seconds to go, FYROM turned to Mirza Kurtovik, but his three-point shot was off the mark.
Krupalija grabbed the rebound and was fouled, but he could only make the second of two free throws to give FYROM the ball with 11 seconds to go.
Bosnia & Herzegovina elected to foul rather than give FYROM a three-point attempt and Dimce Tasovski ended the contest by missing two free throws.