Cancel
Group:  B | 02.09.2011, 17:45h
Group:  B | 02.09.2011, 17:45h
62-71
21 - 1812 - 1320 - 249 - 16
21 - 1812 - 1320 - 249 - 16
Venue: Siauliai (LTU) |
Spectators: 2100 |
Referees: Christos Christodoulou (GRE), Marius Ciulin (ROU), Anton Makhlin (RUS)

GAME REPORT


Bargnani A Giant As Azzurri Win At Last

Turning Point: After getting their noses in front at the end of the third quarter, Italy's Marco Mordente and Andrea Bargnani hit back-to-back three-pointers at the start of the fourth for a 61-53 lead. Simone Pianigiani's team stayed in front the rest of the way.

Game Hero: Andrea Bargnani was immense, scoring 36 points - his highest-ever total with Italy.

Stats Don't Lie: Latvia put Italy on the line a lot and paid the price as the Azzurri made 25 of 28 free-throws. The Latvians sank just 12 of 21 attempts.



It's been an almighty struggle, but Italy finally won a game at the EuroBasket in Lithuania and it took an extraordinary effort from Andrea Bargnani for that to happen.

Scoring 36 points - 18 in each half - the 25-year-old carried the Azzurri on his back in a 71-62 victory over a Latvia side that is the youngest in the competition.

Less than 24 hours after a disappointing result against Germany, the Italians had their backs against the wall.

They needed a win to have any chance to advancing from Group B, and Latvia were in no mood to do them any favors, going in front by six points in the first half and taking a 33-31 lead to the changing rooms.

Two free-throws by Marco Belinelli gave the Italians a 55-53 lead at the end of the third quarter and then at the beginning of the fourth, captain Marco Mordente and Bargnani struck two major blows.

Mordente was left open in the right corner in front of the Italy bench and drilled a three-pointer and then after blocking a shot, Bargnani hustled to the other end and sank a three for a 61-53 advantage.

Italy began to play better on defense and did enough against the Latvia zone to stay in front with the Baltic side getting no closer than seven points the rest of the way.

"The coach came to the locker room and told us to let it all hang out if we wanted to win the game," Hackett said of coach Simone Pianigiani's talk at half-time.

"I think in the last quarter, our defense improved and we were able to stop them and also, our offense went through the post to Bargnani while (Stefano) Mancinelli gave me a chance to be a playmaker in the middle of the zone."

The Latvians have thrilled the crowds in Siauliai with their never-say-day, exciting brand of basketball but they now have no opportunity of progressing.

They lost despite a great performance from Rihards Kuksiks, who made four of eight shots from long range and had 19 points.

 

COACH QUOTES


Quotes Latvia vs. Italy

Latvia Head Coach Ainars Bagatskis:
"Today the more experienced team won. We had some mismatches that we did not use and we should have looked for some open shots in the end of the game. Sometimes we suffer from a lack of game experience, but we are improving every game."

Latvia Player Richards Kuksiks:
"It was a tough game again. We were very close in three games, but we have three losses in a row. Now we just have to prepare for the next game."

Italy Head Coach Simone Pianigiani:
"Latvia's basketball style is very dangerous for us: they are moving a lot, attempting a lot of three point shots. But today we stayed in the game for 40 minutes with good mentality and approach. But I must admit that once again our field goal percentage was not good enough."

Italy Point Guard Daniel Hackett:
"It is a very important win for us. Now we still have a chance to advance. I think in the last quarter our defense really improved and then we relied on Bargnani and post offense."

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

33.8%

22/65
FG
M/A

32.8%

21/64

41.0%

16/39
FG2P
M/A

37.8%

17/45

23.1%

6/26
FG3P
M/A

21.1%

4/19

57.1%

12/21
FT
M/A

89.3%

25/28

47

13/34
RT
RO/RD

42

9/33

13

AS

8

12

TO

7

0

ST

7

1

BS

3

29

PF

25

62

Pts

71

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