17 February, 2020
31 August, 2021
10 Adem Mekikj (MKD), 6 Jonathan Kazadi (SUI)
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Portugal hold off Sweden in dramatic opener, Switzerland prevent hosts clean sweep


MUNICH (Germany) - It was a dramatic day of action at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Pre-Qualifiers Second Round with three of the four group hosts victorious on Thursday.

Portugal held off Sweden down the stretch for a tense 79-77 triumph in Matosinhos as they took the first step towards making it out of Group C. The lead had peaked at 12 points heading into the final five minutes before Sweden mounted a late fightback that would ultimately fall just short.

Sasa Borovnjak starred with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting with a strong display inside for Portugal, while Diogo Brito and Diogo Ventura were also in double figures with 16 points and 14 points, respectively.

Switzerland made a winning start in Group F as they overcame North Macedonia for a 67-62 success in Skopje. Jonathan Kazadi led the way with 19 points and 6 assists to help his side battle past the group hosts as part of their opening double-header.

Jacob Wiley posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds for North Macedonia, but the performance was in vain as part of an overall offensive struggle which saw the team finish 7-of-14 from the foul line.

Montenegro ensured there was no such disappointment on home soil, but had to battle to record a 83-69 victory against Iceland as a strong finish pushed them out of sight, in Group E action in Podgorica.

Nikola Ivanovic and Marko Todorovic shared 36 points between them with Montenegro needing an 8-0 run late in the third to steady their nerves after Iceland had closed to within a single point at 54-53 having faced an early double-digit deficit.

In Group D, Latvia completed a perfect week in Riga as they finished their campaign 4-0 - having advanced on Wednesday - with an 83-60 success against Belarus. Andrejs Grazulis went 7-of-10 from the field for a game-high 22 points off the bench with three other players in double figures.

Belarus return to action on Friday - as part of four games on the overall schedule - with another chance to book their place in the next phase, while Romania need to win by 5+ points in order to secure second spot.