Dutch Cling On After Late Drama



6. Worthy De Jong (Netherlands)
Worthy De Jong was one of four players in double figures as the Netherlands claimed their second win in a row

Netherlands claimed their second success of the EuroBasket Qualification Round with an 80-74 win against Romania but almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory after a nervous last ninety seconds.

It looked as if the Dutch were cruising at 71-63 but Romania gave them an almighty fright by suddenly finding an extra gear in the closing moments to narrow to 76-74 before the relieved home team sunk the free-throws they needed to get them over the line.

Having lost 90-84 in the reverse fixture at the start of their summer qualification programme, this was essentially a must win game for Netherlands who keep their feint hopes of reaching the Final Round in Slovenia alive.

The hosts edged a tight first half of action by a solitary point before both teams found their range and a new higher tempo after the break although it initially suited Romania who threatened to pull away after moving 46-37 ahead.

Much of that was due to the dynamic play of Titus Nicoara and Vlad Moldoveanu who combined for 41 points but the Dutch showed their resilience by coming back with a devastating 25-5 run either side of the final quarter break.

That gave them the impetus to see the game through, even if they did almost throw it away.

Robin Smeulders harvested 18 points and 14 rebounds.


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