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' buzzer-beater won the game for Latvia|
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.