|With Jiri Welsch dishing out assists and fellow veteran Lubos Barton executing, the Czech Republic managed to overcome Belarus on Thursday |
A late surge by the Czech Republic helped them to a third straight EuroBasket Qualification Round win as they eventually overcame sharp-shooting Belarus, 79-72 in Chomutov.
The Czechs remain on course for a top-two finish in Group F and an automatic spot at EuroBasket 2013.
At one juncture during the final quarter, it looked as if the hosts might be vulnerable to a potential shock home-court loss when Belarus got to within two points at 70-68 with just over three-minutes left on the game clock.
But, just when Czech fans began to seriously bite their collective finger-nails, a fitting intervention from game hero Lubos Barton settled their nerves.
The veteran forward drained a triple to spark a solid finish to the game and Tomas Satoransky also came up good during crunch time.
The 32-year-old Barton shone most brightly, harvesting an impressive 23 points and 10 rebounds while fellow veteran Jiri Welsch dished up nine assists to sweeten his miserable shooting night.
Barton was on fire from long-range, sinking five triples and it was important he was on form since Belarus had kept pace with the Czech Republic for most of the game through the quality of their play from the three-point line.
The Czech Republic also had to overcome a poor first quarter when they trailed 25-16 but they worked their way back to take control during the third quarter, before emerging victorious in an exciting finale.