The Latvian men ‘s basketball team closed the qualifying cycle of the 2022 European Championship (EC) on Monday with a loss against Greece, remaining in last place in its group. Latvia ended the qualifying cycle of the European Championship with a loss in the extension – 94:97 (23:25, 28:17, 18:17, 13:23, 12:15).
In the first quarter, Greece took the lead, reaching 7: 0 at the end of the second minute after five points by Evangel Margarish and two points by Dimitri Kacively. Kristers Zoriks started playing with four points, reaching a draw of 15:15 in the seventh minute after Aigars Šķēle’s throw. A quarter with two free throws in favor of Greece was completed by Krists Salustrs – 25:23
In the second quarter, Rolands became the main forger of Latvia’s success Freimanis, who had scored five points in the first quarter and added another 11 in the second quarter, made almost no mistakes – six hits from seven two-point shots, as well as the only three-pointer and a free throw. After 24 seconds of playing, Mārtiņš Meiers equalized the result in the quarter – 25:25, but the Latvians achieved the biggest advantage after Freimanis’ two-point throw two minutes and 56 seconds before the end of the half – 47:32. By the end of the half, the Greeks managed to reduce the deficit to 42:51.
In the third quarter, the difference in the result fluctuated within ten points, but in the last quarter of the game the reins were taken over by the Greeks. After Ojārs Siliņš’s accurate three-point throw in the quarter in the 19th second, the Greeks responded with a zone defense and a 16: 3 break, with Šķēle gaining the only basket and Marek Mejers taking one of the two free throws. Less than four minutes before the end of regular time, Konstantin Papadaka’s three-point shot made it all over again – 75:75. Three minutes and four seconds before the end of the regular time, Mārtiņš Meiers put Latvia in the lead – 77:75, to which Konstantins Papadakis answered with a third and three seconds before the end of the quarter in three attempts, gaining the lead for Greece – 78:77.
51 seconds before the end of the regular time, two free throws were taken by Šķēle, but four seconds later the fifth personal note was received by Meyer, although Margarita took only one free throw. 26 seconds before the end of regular time, Christers Zoriks made a long shot, to which Lin Chrisopopoulos also answered ten seconds before the end of the quarter. He disarmed Slice four seconds before the end of the half, but Catacell’s three-point shot was not accurate – 82:82, and extra time must be played.
Krisikopuls started with two accurate free throws, to which Zoriks responded with a three-point shot. After a while, Zoriks responded to Krisikopoul’s long shot with the same – 88:87. Meier had the opportunity to answer four Greek points with a three-point move, but the free throw flew to the basket secen. The end of the game belonged to the Greeks, after an unsuccessful attempt by Freimanis to earn an unsportsmanlike note from Richard Lomaz. After two accurate thrusts by Salustra, 97:94 in favor of the Greeks and the break of the Latvian national team, it was not possible to play back 1.3 seconds before the end of the match.
Most effective Zoriks was in the Latvian national team with 21 points, who also had seven assists. 16 points and seven rebounds for Freiman, 13 points for Šķēle and Meiers, and nine points for Mārtiņš Laks. For the Greeks 19 points, nine assists and five balls won under the baskets in the Catacell account. Krisikopuls and Salustrs scored 17 points, who also had nine rebounds. 14 points for Margarita, 11 for Papadakim
In Group H, Bosnia and Herzegovina finished with five victories, Greece won four victories, Bulgaria has two victories, but one for Latvia. It has already been reported that on Saturday Latvia gave in to Bulgaria with 65:66 and lost the chance to enter the final tournament, where it will not play for the first time since 1999. Meanwhile, Greece with a score of 69:84 acknowledged the superiority of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s team. After the game, the head coach of the national team Roberts Štelmahers announced that he would consider resigning.
As the fate of the Latvian national team is already known, Jānis Timma and Dairis Bertāns have returned to the disposal of the club, but Artis Ate and Māris Gulbis were in their place in the application. Also in the application were Rolands Freimanis, Mareks Mejeris, Kristers Zoriks, Aigars Šķēle, Rihards Lomažs, Mārtiņš Laksa, Mārtiņš Meiers, Ojārs Siliņš, Kaspars Bērziņš and Artūrs Žagars. Of the 16 basketball players at the disposal of the head coach of the Latvian national team, Jānis Bērziņš and Mārcis Vītols did not play in this window. 14 players from those who participated in the games with the teams of Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 12 were invited to the race in Riga. The leader of the match Artūrs Žagars and the striker Ojārs Siliņš were present, who replaced Artūrs Ausējs, Inga Jakovičs and Klāvs Čavars. Timma and Bertan, players of the Khimki district of the Moscow region of the ULEB Euroleague team also came to the rescue. In November, the men’s national team played in the “bubble” in Sarajevo.
The final of the European Championship was moved from this year to 2022. The final tournament will take place next year from September 1 to 18 in four countries – the Czech Republic (Prague), Georgia (Tbilisi), Italy (Milan) and Germany (group tournament in Cologne, playoffs in Berlin). 24 teams will take part in it.
Composition of the Latvian men’s basketball team for the qualification game of the 2022 European Championship with Greece:
Roland Freimanis (Zelon Gur “Stelmet Enea”, Poland), Marek Meyer (Perm “Parma”, Russia) ), Artis Ate, Kristers Zoriks, Aigars Šķēle (all – “VEF Rīga”), Rihards Lomažs (“Gottingen”, Germany), Mārtiņš Laksa (Lublin “Start”, Poland), Mārtiņš Meiers France), Ojārs Siliņš (“Astana”, Kazakhstan), Māris Gulbis (“Ventspils”), Kaspars Bērziņš (“Šiauliai”, Lithuania), Artūrs Žagars (Tallinn “Kalev” / “Cramo”)