Czech Republic: Welsch Relieved After Hard Fought Win


Czech Republic forward Jiri Welsch conceded his side had been given a tough game in their 73-64 defeat of Poland which kept them on course for a place in the EuroBasket finals.

Welsch did not have the best of night for the Czechs - he was 0-5 from behind the arc - but he attributed that to the Poles' determination.

"Well we expected a tough game and it was. Poland proved to be a good team with big guys," he said.

"They played very physical basketball and we had problems with it throughout the whole game.

"We missed some good scoring opportunities and on defence we let them to score too many easy baskets from fast breaks."

Michal Ignerski downed a three-pointer to put Poland ahead in the opening minute, but the Czechs soon overhauled that to fly into a nine-point lead.

They ended the first quarter 19-17 to the good after Poland rallied. The visitors then briefly got their noses ahead again by scoring the first five points of the second period, only to provoke a second Czech onslaught of nine points without answer.

Despite suffering from poor shooting from three-point range the Czechs led 38-34 at the half-time interval.

Game MVP Lubos Barton led the second-half charge with the opening four points, and Welsch then sunk a 27th-minute three-pointer to put the hosts 50-43 up.

Poland rallied once more, and the game was in the balance when they got it to 55-52 with eight minutes remaining, but the Czechs moved through the gears once again and Barton's three-pointer four minutes from time had them 65-58 up.

Welsh and Maurice Whitfield then tallied to put the game beyond doubt in the final moments.

Poland coach Matic Veselin was pleased with his side's efforts despite the loss.

He said: "I think it was a good match.

"We knew that the Czech side was the favourite and we wanted to stay close until the end and then try to make a surprise.

"We had a chance to win but we made many mistakes in the last five minutes, which I think was the reason for our defeat.

"Now we will focus on the next game which is the most important for us now. 

"We will analyse our mistakes and try to be much better in the next game."

The Czechs will now head to a training camp in Opava, where they will meet Estonia for another qualification match on Thursday.

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