Czechs Stand Ground Against Portugal



Czech Republic held off a Portuguese rally to move to 2-1 in Group F of the EuroBasket qualifying round with a 74-67 win.

The Czechs had jumped out to a 24-10 lead by the end of the first quarter, but Portugal kept chipping away and were getting dangerously close by the finish.

Jaime Silva's three-pointer cut the lead to 70-67 with 17 seconds left.

Portugal got the foul to stop the clock and Jiri Welsch could only split his free throws to leave the gap at four.

But the Czech defence came up big, preventing Portugal from getting a good look as Tomas Barroso missed a lay-up attempt as the clock ticked down, and Pavel Pumprla settled it with a three on the buzzer.

It was tough on winless Portugal, who had closed a 10-point gap in the final five minutes to put themselves in touch of victory.

Petr Benda's lay-up gave the Czechs a 64-54 lead with 5:04 left, but Barroso hit a pair of free throws and Joao Gomes nailed back-to-back jump-shots to make it 64-60 with 2:18 left.

But Welsch and Benda came up with big shots to keep the Czechs out in front and a missed three from Santos cost Portugal the chance to make it a one-possession game with a minute left on the clock.

Benda led the Czechs with 18 points while Vojtech Hruban had 12 and Pumprla 11.

Silva scored 20 to lead Portugal, with Gomes added 10.


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