|Italy players celebrate securing a spot at EuroBasket 2013 with two games to spare in the Qualification Round |
There were scenes of joy in Trieste on Sunday as Italy celebrated securing their place at EuroBasket 2013 after claiming the 68-56 success they needed against the Czech Republic to travel to Slovenia.
Whilst there was no true outstanding performer for Italy, that really didn't matter in a passionate all-round team performance with solid defence very much the key to success.
The home team was always on top of their Group F rivals right from the tip-off and importantly this helped to ease the nerves of the home supporters.
Italy built up a nice cushion for themselves early in the second period when a three-pointer by Luigi Datome made it 24-14 and when Daniel Hackett rattled off four points in quick succession, the hosts really took a grip of the game.
It was not one they would let go of, despite the Czech Republic trying desperately to work themselves back into the game, mainly through centre Petr Benda, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
However, with little coming to fruition from beyond the three-point line, it was always a long way back for the visitors.
Once they found themselves down by 16 after twenty minutes, they never looked like having the firepower to launch an escape mission.
Pietro Aradori top scored for the jubilant Italians with 14 points.