Hungary 68 Italy 64

23.08.2008

Hungary posted a thrilling 68-64 victory over Italy in their EuroBasket qualifier on Saturday night to bounce back from their opening loss to Bulgaria and pile more misery on Carlo Recalcati's men.

In a dramatic finish, Hungary just held on to deny an Italy team who are clearly missing their star trio of Danilo Gallinari, Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli, having lost their opening two games of the campaign.

Early on, it had all looked so simple for the visitors.

The first quarter belonged to Valerio Amoroso, who scored 13 of Italy's 23 points in the opening stanza.

Italy began to pull away early in the second quarter. Amoroso kept up his starring role with a lay-up that sparked a 6-0 run to make it 29-20.

However, Hungary had no intention of rolling over. Italy had been shooting an unsustainable 80% from the field up to the midpoint of the second quarter, and sure enough, their touch deserted them as Hungary took full advantage, taking the lead on Zoltan Trepak's three-pointer 3:03 from the break and ending the half on a 17-0 run than put them 42-33 ahead.

Although Istvan Nemeth got the first points of the second half for Hungary, the baskets began to flow again for Italy and they came roaring back with 17 straight points - taking the lead on Matteo Soragna's dunk with 5:16 left in the quarter.

Hungary responded early in the fourth quarter, and were back in front 59-58 on Nemeth's lay-up with 8:18 left to go.

The teams traded the lead a couple of times before Hungary scored five straight points to build a slight cushion, 64-60, with 2:05 to go.

Giuseppe Poeta cut the advantage in half with a lay-up, but Daniele Cavaliero and Marco Mordente missed back-to-back three-pointer attempts, the latter with only 31 seconds on the clock.

Nemeth then made a lay-up to build Hungary's lead back to four with 12 seconds to go.

Poeta made a pair of free throws with six seconds left but Erno Sitku responded with two of his own from the charity stripe to seal the win.

Hungary were led by 15 points and 11 rebounds from Marton Bader, while Nemeth chipped in 12 points and Trepak had 11.

Italy wasted 21 points and eight rebounds from Amoroso, who shot a blistering nine of 10 (90%) from the field, while Poeta finished the game with 10 points and five assists.

Italy must now find a way to win in Wednesday's home game against Finland to get their qualification campaign back on track.


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