|17 August 2012|
|Petteri Koponen showed he can be a leader for Finland, scoring 29 points against Albania|
Finland's opening game of the EuroBasket 2013 Qualification Round was worth the wait as they enjoyed a 112-77 rout of Albania in Helsinki.
Starting two days later than the rest of the their group, Finland were raring to go and raced into a big early lead, leading 19-9 on Matti Nuutinen's three-pointer with 4:17 left in the first quarter and 30-16 on another Nuutinen bomb inside the last two minutes of the period.
Hanno Mottola sank two free throws to start the second period and carry the lead past the 20 mark as they went 39-18 up.
Red Vogli sank a three for Albania midway through the third quarter but it was a rare bright spot and Gerald Lee's jump-shot gave Finland a 54-30 lead soon after. That was the start of a 9-0 Finnish run to the half-time buzzer, with Petteri Koponen's three making it 61-30 at the break.
Finland turned to their bench in the second half, and although Albanian heads may have dropped when Shawn Huff opened the third quarter with another three, they were able to hold their own for the rest of the game, even if they had no hope of making it a contest again.
Gerti Shima and Vogli both had threes in a 12-3 spurt in reponse to Huff's shot, but they were unable to get the lead down to anything less than 25 in the second half.
Koponen led Finland with 29 points while Huff added 19. Mikko Koivisto also chipped in with 11.
Shima had 23 points for Albania and Klaudio Ndoja added 18.