|Rasid Mahalbasic tunred on the stle for Austria, pouring in 34 points against Denmark|
Big man Rasid Mahalbasic came up with a stunning 34-point display on Tuesday and propelled Austria to an 86-66 victory over Denmark at home in Group C of the EuroBasket 2015 1st Qualification Round.
The Austrians will now play host to Switzerland on Friday, in the encounter that will determine which of the two teams will finish in first place in the group and advance to the semi-finals.
The Danish were the better team for most of the first half and, with center Jonas Bergstedt scoring all 10 of his points during the first twenty minutes, they held a 36-32 advantage over their hosts at half-time.
But it was only a question of time until Austria took the lead, as they had two main arguments in their favour.
Firstly, they forced their guests to commit 22 turnovers, off which they scored 28 points.
Secondly, Mahalbasic came back from the locker rooms after the interval determined to take matters in his hands and reeled in 20 points in the second half on excellent shooting percentages (13-of-20 from the floor), to enable Austria to take the lead.
Denmark made a last ditch attempt to level the scores and reduced to 65-61 shortly after the start of the final stanza, but with Mahalbasic firing on all cylinders the Austrians pulled ahead once again and even managed to widen the gap to 20 points within the final two minutes.
Mahalbasic added six rebounds and six assists to round off his performance, and shooting guard Anton Maresch sunk five three-pointers to finish with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists.
For Denmark, youngsters Alexander Bak and Esben Reinholt had 15 and 13 points, respectively, the latter also adding a game-high nine rebounds.