Latvia beats Montenegro but just misses out on basketball World Cup

Take note – story published 5 years ago

In a crucial FIBA World Cup qualifier in Podgorica on February 25, the Latvian national basketball team defeated Montenegro 80:74 (16:8, 20:23, 24:24, 20:19), but sadly that was not enough for Latvia to qualify for the World Cup.

To qualify, Latvia had to win by nine points or more, and therefore fell agonizingly short. Montenegro has advanced to FIBA World Cup as a result.

Janis Strelnieks led Latvia with 25 points and ten assists, Martins Meiers had 12 points and Janis Timma scored 11 points. Derek Needham was the highest scorer for Montenegro with 22 points.

Latvia quickly built a 10:0 lead and kept its lead throughout the match, closing the first half 36:31. During the second half, Latvia's lead ranged from three to thirteen points, but Montenegro were able to cut Latvia's lead to six points with just a few seconds remaining. Dairis Bertans missed from beyond the arc as the buzzer sounded.

As a result, Spain finished in first place in Group I with ten wins and two losses, and Turkey placed second with eight wins. Montenegro finished third with seven wins and five losses, and Latvia was fourth - also with seven wins. Ukraine placed fifth with five wins, while Slovenia ended up in last place with three wins. Three best teams in the group qualified for the World Cup.

In their first match in Riga last November, Montenegro defeated Latvia 84:75, therefore on Monday Latvia had to beat Montenegro by at least nine points to qualify for the World Cup.

As reported, the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup will be played in China August 31 to September 15.

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