EUROBASKET 2015 2ND QR
|Kaspars Berzins (right) finished just shy of a double-double on Sunday|
Latvia produced a solid defensive display on Sunday and claimed a 62-50 win against Sweden on the road, in the opening clash of Group F in the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round.
On the offensive end, the Latvians attempted almost as many shots from beyond the arc as two-pointers, but with good reason, as they went 10-for-25 from downtown and 8-for-26 from close range.
Sweden on the other hand did not pose any threat from long range (one-for-eight three-pointers) and scored 26 of their 50 points close to the rim.
Latvia made their intentions clear from the start but did not gain a significant lead until midway through the second quarter.
With 6:41 remaining in the second frame, Ronalds Zakis dunked, drew the foul and made his free-throw to cap off a 12-0 Latvian run and bring the guests ahead 30-14.
Sweden decided to tighten the screws on defence to give the Latvians a taste of their own medicine and it produced results as Tobias Borg, with a lay-up with 7:56 left to play in the third period, reduced the gap to 36-34.
Kristaps Janicenoks and Janis Blums however swiftly drilled back-to-back triples to clip the wings of the hosts and then Latvia used a 10-1 burst at the beginning of the final frame to put the game beyond the reach of the Swedes, 59-41 with 5:38 left on the clock.
Kaspars Berzins paced the winners with 14 points and nine rebounds while Blums and Dairis Bertans picked their shots carefully and contributed 13 points each for the winners.
Borg was the only Swede to score in double digits and he finished with 11 points in a losing effort.