Belgium Break Latvian Hopes

15.09.2013

EUROBASKET 2013

Turning Point: With the game tied at 56, Belgium went on a 9-0 run to take the biggest lead of the game for either team and held on.
Game Hero: Sacha Massot hit a number of big shots and played tough defence in collecting 14 points, four rebounds and three blocks to lead the Belgians to victory.
Stats Don't Lie: Latvia struggled offensively in hitting just 29.4% from the field, including just 5-of-29 (17.2%) from long range. Belgium survived Latvia grabbing 17 offensive rebounds.

Sacha Massot (Belgium)
Sacha Massot propelled Belgium to victory with 14 points, four rebounds and three blocks

Already-eliminated Belgium picked up their first victory in the Second Round of Group E by beating Latvia 60-56 and spoiling Latvia's chances of advancing to the quarter-finals.

"It's a very simple thing. It's one thing we want to send to everyone in Europe. We give a lot of respect to Europe and hopefully with this kind of win we can get some respect [back]," said Belgium coach Eddy Casteels, whose team will finish fifth in Group E with a 1-4 record.

"We can be satisfied. We are proud to finish in the top 12 and finish with a victory over Latvia," added Axel Hervelle.

Sacha Massot led Belgium with 14 points while also collecting four rebounds and three blocks. Wen Mukubu scored 13 points and Hervelle added 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals.

Latvia came into the game needing a win and a Lithuania win over Ukraine to book a spot in the quarters. But now the Latvians will have to accept sixth place in the group.

"We knew from the very beginning that it would be very difficult. They didn't have any pressure. They didn't have any chance to qualify. And we didn't play quiet," said Latvia coach Ainars Bagatskis.

"A tough loss. So disappointing. We are so disappointed. Nothing to say. We could not score anything. This was our worst game in how many years, and it was our most important game. I don't know why this happened. It's sports," said Rolands Freimanis.

Freimanis led the Latvians with 10 points and 11 rebounds while Martins Meiers collected six points, six rebounds and four blocks.

Belgium had the better start to the game, taking a 9-2 lead after three minutes. Latvia answered with a 7-0 run over the next four minutes to knot the game at nine. A Hervelle triple stopped Belgium's drought but Janis Blums converted a four-point play to help give Latvia a 15-14 advantage after one quarter.

Mareks Mejeris started the second period with a triple but the Latvians went scoreless for the next four minutes and Belgium reeled off a 10-0 run for a 24-18 lead. The cushion grew to 28-21 before Janis Strelnieks tallied seven points in the final 3:36 minutes of the half to even the game at 32 at the break.

Freimanis opened the second half giving Latvia the lead but Massot and Mukubu sparked a 9-2 run for a 41-36 Belgium advantage. The Baltic side closed to within 43-42 before Mukubu's triple to give Belgium a 46-42 lead after three quarters.

Latvia tied the game at 46 early in the fourth quarter but Massot scored four points and Jonathan Tabu drained a triple in a 9-0 Belgium run for a 55-46 lead. Latvia fought back and got to within 57-56 with a minute to play. But Dairis Bertans' alley-oop did not connect with Freimanis with 51 seconds left and Massot blocked Janis Blums' shot with 31 seconds remaining. Massot threw down a dunk with eight seconds to play for a 59-56 lead, and after Bertans missed a three-pointer two seconds later, Mukubu clinched the victory with a free throw with 2.8 seconds left.

 

 

 


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