Perfect Latvia Cruise Into EuroBasket

24 August 2014
9. Dairis Bertans (Latvia)
Dairis Bertans and Latvia stayed undefeated

Latvia extended their undefeated run in the 2nd Qualifying Round to five games by picking up an 89-65 triumph over the Slovak Republic on Sunday and booked a spot at EuroBasket 2015.

Even if they lose to Romania by more than 23 points on Day 6 and finish in second place in Group F, the Latvians will still be certain of finishing within the six best second-placed teams in the 2nd Qualifying Round.

On Sunday, Latvia overcame a sluggish start to gain the initiative midway through the first quarter, but it was not until 10 minutes later that they began to pull away from their hosts.

Youngster Rolands Smits scored his seventh point in the game 5:31 from the half-time interval to make it 31-25 for the guests and veteran Janis Blums swiftly followed up with two jumpers, the second from beyond the three-point arc, to extend the lead into double digits, 35-25.

Mareks Mejeris hit a triple as the half-time buzzer was sounding to conclude Latvia's burst and send them to the locker-rooms with a 50-33 advantage.

Latvia made sure to keep the Slovak Republic at arm's length after the break and even used a 10-0 run in the fourth, which Ingus Jakovics capped off with a three-pointer 5:38 from the final buzzer to enjoy a lead as big as 29 points, 84-55.

Every single player on the Latvian 12-man squad wrote his name on the scoreboard, with Blums and Kristaps Janicenoks collecting 13 points apiece, while Dairis Bertans added 11 points.

Peter Sedmák finished with a game-high 23 points while Milan Ziak added 15 points for the Slovaks in defeat.


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