Pat Burke’s lay-up rimmed out at the final buzzer as Switzerland held on to defeat Ireland 59-57 in the team’s EuroBasket Qualifying Round opener.
Despite trailing for most of the game, Ireland had a chance to even the score in the game’s final seconds.
After Valentin Wegmann made one of two free-throws with 10 seconds remaining to put Switerland up 59-57, Ireland’s Donnie McGrath drove to the basket and missed a lay-up.
Ireland retained possession with one second remaining and called time out.
There play was well designed as Pat Burke got a good look at a lay-up, but the ball rimmed out and Switzerland escaped with the win.
The Swiss were able to take control of the game in the third quarter.
Leading 32-29 at halftime, Switzerland opened the third by outscoring Ireland 11-2 to take a 43-31 lead.
Nicolas Porchet punctuated the spurt by draining a three-pointer.
Emmet O’Donnelly’s three-pointer with four seconds to go in the quarter got the Irish to within 47-41 going into the final quarter.
The teams were both sluggish on offense to start the final quarter. Switzerland scored just three points through the first five minutes of the fourth, while Ireland had four.
A three-pointer Maxime Jacquier gave Switzerland a 53-47 lead, but Burke answered with a three of his own for Ireland to make it a 53-50 game with 2:09 to go.
After an empty offensive trip for Switzerland, Burke scored again for Ireland to cut the margin to one with just over a minute to play.
Oliver Vogt’s tap in at the 1:15 mark put Switzerland up 55-52.
The teams would exchange points from the free throw line over the next 40 seconds of play and McGrath’s lay-up with 12 seconds remaining again cut the deficit to one.
Wegman then went to the line where he connected on his free throw, setting the stage for Ireland’s final possession for a chance to tie or win the game.
Ireland host Romania next weekend, while Switzerland travel to Cyprus.