Barons Slip Past Nahariya

27.11.2007

Barons LMT rode their luck in the final minute and advanced to the EuroCup Qualifying Round with a 161-160 win on aggregate against Iscar Nahariya.

After an 81-77 win in Latvia last week, Barons travelled to Israel knowing they had a lot of work to do and they stormed out to a 28-13 lead.

They finished that opening quarter with a 14-4 run and by half-time were still in command at 48-36 - a 16-point aggregate advantage.

When Michal Hlebowicki split a pair of free throws at the end of the third quarter for a 71-58 lead, Karlis Muiznieks' team looked well on its way to the next stage of the competition.

Otis Hill's dunk capped a 7-0 run that closed the gap in the game to 71-67 with less than seven minutes remaining, yet Barons kept their noses in front until Nahariya surged into a 76-75 lead after another 7-0 spurt.

Matan Naor, the Israeli national team star,capped that scoring burst and put his team ahead with a three-ball just 2:47 from the end.

With Barons holding on for dear life, a lay-up by Sasa Ocokoljic made it 83-80 in favor of the hosts and the Israeli side then had a chance to go in front on aggregate after shooting guard Raimonds Vaikulis missed two free throws.

Nahariya did not execute well over the final 20 seconds, waiting until three ticks on the clock remained before Ocokoljic launched a shot from behind the arc.

He missed, teammate  Adrian Pledger got the rebound and was off target with a jumper as well as Barons won by the slimmest of margins.

Hill had 26 points and eight rebounds in defeat while Lithuanian international Giedrus Gustas scored 17, dished out for assists and grabbed four boards in victory.

Nahariya were just 10 of 17 (58.8%) from the line.


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