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Jonsson misfires at the buzzer, Portugal protect their home court
SINES (FIBA EuroBasket 2021 Pre-Qualifiers) - Iceland had a one-point lead in the final minute, but missed their last two field goals, allowing Portugal to hold on for an 80-77 win, their first in Group C.
Turning Point: It seemed that Iceland were on track to win away from home when Tryggvi Hlinason dunked down an alley-oop with 30 seconds left on the game clock to hand his team a 77-76 lead. But Joao Soares soared through the air for a put-back layup to get Portugal back in front with 20 seconds to play.
Iceland drew up a play for Martin Hermannsson out of the timeout, but the Icelandic guard missed a layup. Jose Barbosa made it a three-point game from the line, and on the last possession of the game, Kari Jonsson tried to send the game to overtime with an off balance triple. It bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Stats Don't Lie: In a game with 14 lead changes, it's hard to pin-point a certain statistic that was crucial. But a 13-5 edge in second-chance points was enough for Portugal, especially because two of those gave them the upper hand in the final minute.
Game Hero: Joao Soares not only made the go-ahead put-back, but also had 18 points and 11 rebounds on the night.
Game Notes: Belgium will be the happiest with this outcome, as they remain the only unbeaten team in the group, even though they had a day off on Sunday. Portugal are now at 1-1, Iceland start their campaign down at 0-1.
They Said: "Leading by 11 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, our players got anxious. Then we stepped up defensively and that helped us win the game." - Mario Gomes, Portugal head coach
"We changed our offensive focus and that turned the game to our favor. We are closer to the qualification and we believe in ourselves." - Joao Soares, Portugal's game hero
"We had eight turnovers in the third quarter and they got fastbreak layups. We made too many mistakes and missed opportunities. Portugal made shots when they had to." - Craig Pedersen, Iceland head coach
"We started pretty good, finding our big guy inside, but then we dig ourselves in a hole. This group will have great games, but it's going to be tough, especially on the road." - Kari Jonsson, Iceland