Germany Survive Slovenia Comeback


Germany held on for dear life as they edge out Slovenia 76-71 in the Qualifying Round at the U18 European Championship Men 2009 in Metz, France.

The result saw the Germans clinch their first win in Group E.

Leading 68-51 at the end of the third quarter, Kay Blumel's side let their guard down and Slovenia made the right move in using a full court pressure defense to great effect.

The Slovenians used a 13-0 run to open the final period and Germany failed to score a single point until Danilo Barthel hit a free-throw with 3:53 left to play and a 69-63 advantage.

But Klemen Panic - who led Slovenia's spurt with 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter - then got a steal and lay up to get within three, 69-66.

Daniel Leithner hit a wing three to give the Germans a bit of breathing space but Panic hit a long bomb of his own and Marko Pajic made a lay-up to make it a one-point game, 72-71.

But Germany held on with Philipp Neumann getting a key tip-in and Falko Theilig and Matthis Monninghoff made two free-throws in the closing seconds.

"We had a lot of problems in the fourth quarter. We didn't play well against their pressure defense. Our players made the wrong decisions," said Blumel.

"But it's a win and we will take it as it opens things up in the group. It gives us a chance. We played well for three quarters so that's a big positive too."

Early on, Germany raced to a 17-10 but Slovenia cut the deficit to three, 24-21, as Jan Span hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.

They would go ahead early in the second quarter, taking their first lead on Jakob Cebasek's three-pointer with 8:19 left, but Germany finished the quarter with a 14-4 run for a 40-35 advantage at the break.

Germany looked to have put the game out of Slovenia's reach when they made a point of getting some offense inside in the third quarter and used a 14-0 run to take a double-digit lead.

Slovenia though made a game of it with their fine play in the final period.

Neumann had 24 points and seven rebounds.

Jan Span had 18 points to lead the way for Slovenia.

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