EUROBASKET 2015 2ND QR
| Taylor Rochestie was integral to Montenegro's over-time win|
Montenegro had to hit the century mark to finally bend the resistance of Israel and prevail 100-97 in the epic overtime clash that kick-started Group B action in the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round.
The Israeli side were the host team in the game, which however took place in Nicosia, Cyprus due to the ongoing unrest in the territory of Israel.
The nerve-wrecking encounter featured nine lead changes while the scores were tied on 15 occasions and no team led by a double-digit margin at any point during the 45 minutes.
Montenegro appeared to be making a breakthrough when Taylor Rochestie scored with lay-up in transition at the end of the third quarter and then Vladimir Mihailovic hit one free-throw in the opening seconds of the fourth to give the Balkan team a 67-58 lead, the biggest all night.
It proved a mirage though as, spurred on by Gal Mekel and the superb Omri Casspi, Israel fought their way back and tied the scores at 78 on two Casspi shots from the foul line, with 2:19 remaining to the end of regulation.
Mihailovic put Montenegro ahead 86-80 with a big three-pointer but Israel got three stops in the final minute of the fourth period and Mekel with Guy Pnini kept their calm at the charity stripe and sunk six consecutive free throws to tie the scores at 86 and send the game in overtime.
With 35 seconds left to play in the extra period, Sead Sehovic came up with a powerful dunk to push Montenegro ahead, 97-94.
Israel called a time-out and drew a play for Raviv Limonad who mis-fired but picked up his own offensive rebound only to miss again and then foul Rochestie, who made it 99-94 from the stripe with 16 seconds left on the clock.
Almost immediately, Casspi converted an and-one play to reduce to 99-97 and Israel sent Sehovic to the foul line.
He split his free-throws with 10 seconds remaining, making it 100-97, but Casspi's three-point attempt to force a second overtime did not drop in and Montenegro celebrated the hard-earned victory.
Rochestie collected 17 points and nine assists for the winners, Vladimir Dragicevic had 16 points and six rebounds and Sehovic finished with 15 points and also brought down six boards.
Israel's loss was especially harsh on Casspi, who poured in 28 points and grabbed 10 boards, while Yotam Halperin had 13 points.