By David Hein
Turning point: Latvia led by 11 points with 22 seconds left when Jan Jagla drained a three-pointer. He then rebounded Ernests Kalve's second missed foul shot and made two free throws with 10.9 seconds to play.
Hero: Jagla scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds to clinch advancement to the next round.
Stats: Latvia made just 19 of 38 free throws.
Jan Jagla hit a three-pointer and two foul shots in the final 14 seconds as Germany staged a miracle comeback to advance to the EuroBasket 2009 Qualifying Round despite a 68-62 loss against Latvia.
Latvia led by 11 points with 22 seconds left which would have put them through from Group B. But Jagla sandwiched
his heroics around two missed foul shots by Ernests Kalve with 13.2 seconds to play. And Armands Skele's three-pointer at the buzzer was off target, sending Latvia packing.
|Jan-Hendrik Jagla came up big for Germany down the stretch.|
"It was the best loss I ever had," said German coach Dirk Bauermann. "To lose a game like that and achieve something like this is an incredible achievement for this young team."
Demond Greene led all scorers with 16 points as he hit four three-pointers and helped keep Germany within reach. Jagla finished the game with 13 points and seven rebounds.
"We just wanted to go to the next round. Nobody was counting the points until the end," said Jagla.
"It feels great obviously to make a big shot and go to the next round. But without the team I would not have been in that situation."
"Jan was the hero today. He was great. He had the mental toughness and desire after struggling all game. And he delivered when we needed it the most," added Bauermann.
Latvia head home even though they won their final game. Kristaps Janicenoks paced five players in double figures with 14 points, including nine in the fourth quarter.
Kaspars Kambala scored 11 points while Andris Biedrins had 10 points and nine rebounds and Skele and Kristaps Valters both tallied 10 points.
All told, Latvia made just 19 of 38 foul shots.
Germany went ahead 4-0 after Steffen Hamann nailed a three-pointer following a technical on Latvia.
Both teams relied on physical play and the game was a battle from the beginning. Neither team led by more than four points in the quarter, and there were four ties with Latvia leading 14-13 after one period.
Elias Harris and Greene both knocked down triples to knot the game at 19-19. But Uvis Helmanis sandwiched three-pointers around a Valters trey in a 16-6 Latvia run to open a 10-point lead 35-25.
Germany closed to within 37-29 at the break.
Bauermann's men hit the first six points of the second half to make it a two-point game on Greene's triple. But Skele nailed two straight three-pointers to spark a 14-7 finish the rest of the third quarter.
Germany trailed 51-42 but things could have been worse as Biedrins twice missed two free throws while Skele and Kambala were each off on two of their own.
Greene nailed two triples to keep Germany within six points with four minutes left. But Janicenoks scored six more points, the final two coming on free throws which game Latvia a 68-57 lead with 22 seconds left - setting up Jagla's heroics.