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Group:  B | 03.09.2008, 18:30h
Group:  B | 03.09.2008, 18:30h
83-82
15 - 1216 - 1823 - 2420 - 209 - 8
15 - 1216 - 1823 - 2420 - 209 - 8
Venue: Riga (LAT) |
Spectators: 5000 |
Referees: Virginijus Dovidavicius (LTU), Sergiy Chebyshev (UKR), Tomasz Trawicki (POL)

GAME REPORT


Latvia Down FYROM In Overtime

Lativa pulled off a dramatic 83-82 win over FYROM in Riga on Wednesday night to get their EuroBasket qualifying campaign off to a winning start.

Kristaps Janicenoks (Latvia)
Kristaps Janicenoks' buzzer-beater won the game for Latvia
Kristaps Janicenoks' buzzer-beating three-pointer sank the Macedonians, who had done all they could to overcome a huge night from Andris Biedrins and put a fright into the hosts.

In a game where it was virtually impossible to split the teams all night, it went right to the wire.

FYROM were looking good for the win as, leading 82-80 with 10 seconds to go after Vlado Ilevski split a pair of free throws, they saw Kaspars Berzins' long-range effort blocked by Djeremaja Mejsi with three seconds left.

But as the clock ticked down, Janicenoks scooped up the ball and fired it in to claim the win.

It was heartbreak for FYROM, who had squandered a golden chance to win it at the end of regulation.

Dimitar Mirakovski was fouled by Gatis Jahovics with the game tied 74-74 and two seconds on the clock.

But the 1.80m guard came up empty with both free-throws to send the game to the extra period.

Latvia had to come back to force overtime, having trailed 67-59 with 5:50 to go as FYROM pulled out their first decent lead of the game.

But after Berzins and Janicenoks had come up with key baskets, Biedrins took over, sinking a pair of free throws to close the gap to 72-70 and then, after Vrbica Stefanov made a jumper for FYROM, the Golden State Warriors man tied it with back-to-back dunks that made it 74-74.

Biedrins finished with 30 points from 10 of 15 (67%) shooting from the field, and added 22 rebounds in a mammoth effort for his team.

Janicenoks finished with 16 points and Janis Blums also reached double figures with 11.

Todor Geceski led FYROM with 21 while Mejsi had 14 and 11 rebounds.

COACH QUOTES


Quotes Latvia vs. FYR of Macedonia

Jovica Arsic, F.Y.R. of Macedonia coach:

"We had a chance to win. In the last three minutes the referees favored Latvia, we have submitted a protest... Latvia successfully blocked Mejsi's game, this was totally not his game, but also the referees missed a lot of fouls on him. It's very hard to stop players like Biedrins, but no one player decides the game alone; he could have scored a hundred points or whatever, but I would still be pleased had we won. We see Latvia as the number one pretender for the first place in this group, because thay had a good preperation - the best between Group B teams."

Kristaps Janicenoks, Latvia player:

"For a first official game, it wans't so bad. We still don't feel each other so good on the court, but anyway I think that we are a better team than them, so the result shouldn't even be so close. We didn't play our best game today, especially on offense, but we hope that we will do better in the next game. About the last shot - actually there was so little time left, that I didn't even look wether it was a two pointer or a three pointer, I just made a shot and luckilly I scored. We are looking forward to the next game against Estonia right now."

Nenad Trajkovic, Latvia coach:

"This was a very tough game, their team is very good, for me the FYR of Macedonia team is number one in this group, and we are number two. We had problems with some of our key players, like Jahovics, Vitols. Valters also couldn't find his game, he got back from his club only two days before the game and wasn't ready tactically. Today we played really good defense, they are known as a team with good offense, with good three point shooters, but our guys showed that they wanted to win the game and they really worked hard on the court. The problem is that we played very bad offense, we made too many mistakes, too many silly mistakes, but I guess God saw that we really wanted to win this and helped us. I'm very proud of my players' team work in defense and we really didn't let our opponents' leading players to play their best game."

Accumulated statistics

49.1%

28/57
FG
M/A

38.4%

28/73

52.8%

19/36
FG2P
M/A

42.9%

21/49

42.9%

9/21
FG3P
M/A

29.2%

7/24

62.1%

18/29
FT
M/A

59.4%

19/32

48

10/38
RT
RO/RD

37

12/25

14

AS

13

19

TO

6

3

ST

7

3

BS

2

27

PF

23

83

Pts

82

PHOTO GALLERY

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