Finland Take Sweet Victory For The Road

16 September 2013

EUROBASKET 2013

Turning Point: The hosts seemed to gain the initiative when they grabbed a 42-37 lead, but Finland went on a 5-0 run in the final 28 seconds of the second quarter to tie the scores at 42 and kicked off the third with a 20-3 burst, within just over six minutes, to establish their biggest lead in the game, 62-45.
Game Hero: Mikko Koivisto's shooting was as sharp as a knife during stretches, but big man Gerald Lee was a real rock inside for the Finns on both ends of the floor and finished with 17 points on seven-for-eight shooting from the floor, adding six rebounds and two assists.
Stats Don't Lie: Finland hit 12 of their first 23 three-point attempts (an amazing 52.2%) and by the time their accuracy behind the three-point line started to drop somewhat, Slovenia were already left with a mountain to climb and very little time. Despite their size disadvantage, Finland also out-rebounded Slovenia 32 to 30.

Finland were sublime from long range and solid defensively on Monday to bid farewell to EuroBasket 2013 by defeating hosts Slovenia 92-76, in the Group F clash that concluded Second Round action.

Mikko Koivisto (Finland)
Mikko Koivisto torched Slovenia with his 16 points, shooting an impressive 4 of 8 three-pointers for Finland

Slovenia already knew they would finish in second place in Group F and Finland were out of contention for a spot in the quarter-finals but, none the less, a clash between two sides that feel at their best with energy levels at maximum and the tempo at full speed always makes for a worthwhile basketball game.

Finland kicked off proceedings with a 9-0 run but Slovenia replied with an outlandish four-minute burst, that saw them go up 18-11 on a Gaspar Vidmar free throw with 2:51 still left in the opening quarter.

That would be the hosts' biggest lead all night though.

Samuel Haanpää drilled his third triple on the night to cap off an 8-0 run that brought Finland ahead, 37-34, with 3:34 left in the second.

Domen Lorbek sunk two consecutive three-pointers in reply and Slovenia went ahead 40-37 with 1:40 on the clock.

Then Zoran Dragic intercepted a pass, missed the lay-up on the fast break but Bostjan Nachbar with a tip-in made it 42-37 for the hosts.

The crowd at Stozice Arena erupted in joy certain that the momentum had shifted back in Slovenia's favour for good, but Finland stole the hosts' thunder instantly.

First Koivisto hit a jumper with 28 seconds on the clock to reduce to 42-39 and then Roope Ahonen sunk a

Bostjan Nachbar (Slovenia)
Bostjan Nachbar scored 13 of his 15 points in the first ten minutes

triple right at the half-time buzzer to tie the scores at 42.

Finland came back from the break firing on all cylinders and when Ahonen scored his fifth point in the game 3:39 from the third buzzer, the hosts were trailing their guests 62-45.

"Everybody was hitting shots we were playing some pretty good defence, it was a great team effort," Lee described that stretch after the game.

"We showed we can play as a team, and obviously Slovenia rested their star players, which was good for us."

Slovenia did not want to disappoint their fans and started chipping away at the gap, but when they managed to come within seven points, 75-68, Finland responded with an 8-0 run capped off by Sasu Salin 4:31 from the final buzzer that put the game to rest.

"We talked about it before the game, we had two tough losses against very good teams and we just wanted to end the tournament with a win," Lee said.

"We had a better chance this time to reach the quarter-finals and it was a disappointment for us, we really thought we could make it this year.

"But it's good to at least go home with a win."

 

 

 


RELATED NEWS

French Claim Maiden Gold22.09.2013
Spain Leave Slovenia With Bronze22.09.2013
Hosts End EuroBasket Campaign On A High21.09.2013
Serbia Claim Last Ticket To Spain21.09.2013
France Break Spell In Epic Semi-Final20.09.2013
Lithuania Book Spot In Final20.09.2013
Ukraine Down Italy To Make History20.09.2013
Lithuania March On In Ljubljana19.09.2013

Advertisement