EUROBASKET 2015 2nd QR
|Arvin Slagter had a team-high 15 points for the Netherlands, adding five assists|
The Netherlands delivered an amazing defensive display on Wednesday to register a triumphant 68-55 win over Montenegro in a do-or-die clash and return to the EuroBasket for the first time since 1989.
The Dutch claimed second place in Group B, behind Israel and above Montenegro, with the 13-point winning margin allowing them to finish among the six best second-placed teams in the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round.
Montenegro appeared to be assuming control of this low-scoring affair when they gained a 28-22 lead midway through the second frame.
The Netherlands reduced the gap to 33-30 by the half-time buzzer and the home crowd braced for a too-close-for-comfort second half in this decisive encounter.
The hosts however thought otherwise and returned to the floor after the break determined to tighten the screws on defence.
The Dutch gave up only five points to their guests in the entire third frame and a Thomas Koenis lay-up with 1:48 remaining to the third buzzer gifted them a 50-38 lead.
Not content with that, Roeland Schaftenaar drilled a triple 8:57 from the end of the final frame to extend the gap to 16 points, 54-38.
Montenegro had only scored one basket in approximately eight minutes and by the time Suad Sehovic stopped the rot with 7:15 left to play to reduce the gap to 54-40, it was too little too late.
The Netherlands held on relatively comfortably until the final buzzer to celebrate the historic win, propelled by a 15-point, 5-assist showing by Arvin Slagter and 14 points, eight rebounds from Schaftenaar.
Montenegro captain Suad Sehovic finished with a game-high 17 points in a losing effort.