Belgium Scrape Important Win Over Finns

08.09.2012

EUROBASKET QUALIFIERS

12. Wen Mukubu (Belgium)
Belgium's Wen Mukubu made five of his 20 points in the final 2:10 minutes

Belgium clinched a vital home triumph over Finland on Saturday to boost their chances of playing in next year's EuroBasket.

Eddy Casteels' side prevailed, 71-68, to improve to 4-3 and drop the Finns to 5-2.

The Belgians play their last game at Albania next week while Finland are at home against Switzerland.

The Finns have a superior goal differential in their two games against Belgium, though, and are assured of finishing second in Group E behind Poland.

As it is, a victory over the Albanians will be enough for Belgium to seal a place as one of the four best third-place teams in the six Qualification Round groups and that would allow them to compete in the Final Round in Slovenia.

Belgium overcame a 13-point deficit early in the second quarter to lead by 13 themselves late in the third yet they had to dig deep to see off Henrik Dettmann's Finnish side.

The Finns went on a 14-0 run to turn a 62-54 deficit into a 68-62 advantage with 2:25 remaining.

Sasu Salin had eight points in that run for the Finns.

Belgium stormed back.

Wen Mukubu, who had a team-high 20 points, made two free-throws with 20 seconds to play to put the Belgians in front, 69-68.

Maxime De Zeeuw of Belgium then intercepted a Petteri Koponen pass, and fed Sam Van Rossom for a lay-up and a 71-68 Belgian lead just three seconds from the end.

Finland, who would have had a chance to finish first in Group E with a win, called timeout.

When play resumed, Salin missed a potential game-tying three-pointer.

Koponen finished with a game-high 22 points in defeat.


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