Austria came within a whisker of finishing their 2004 European Championship qualification games with an unbeaten 3-0 record.
Instead it was Belarus who took the game (91-92) in Oberwart, as well as top spot in Group C, Division B.
Austria, featuring one of the youngest teams in the competition (average age 22), had already beaten Cyprus and Albania. Against Belarus, they came desperately close, but lost to a 3-point buzzer beater.
Trailing by as many as 11-points in the 4th quarter, Austria took advantage of the home crowd to spark a comeback. With 8 seconds to go, it looked as though their efforts would be rewarded as David Jandl's 2 free throws gave them a 2-point lead.
|Peter Hütter offers David Jandl (#6) some advice against Belarus|
But Belarus were not deterred and a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left snatched an unlikely victory.
Despite the loss, Austrian coach Michael Schrittwieser remained upbeat.
"The team has fought like heroes, we lost with an unlucky shot seconds before the end," he said.
I am really happy about the performance of the team and we are looking forward with pride to next year's return-games."
Austria's campaign begins again in September 2005.