Emanuel Cate steals the show, stuns the packed arena in Prishtina
PRISHTINA (Kosovo) - Kosovo were in the mood to finish the campaign on a winning note, but Emanuel Cate and Romania had other ideas, escaping Prishtina with a 79-75 win. Both teams were already eliminated.
Turning Point: Giordan Watson was feeling it from beyond the arc, and his fourth triple of the night was to beat the shot clock buzzer from way beyond the three-point line, to give Romania a four-point lead with 90 seconds to play. Kosovo were a step behind the rest of the way, but coach Damir Mulaomerovic had a chance to draw up a play to send it to overtime.
That's where Emanuel Cate read the play perfectly, stealing the ball in front of Lis Shoshi, and dunking it home to secure a win for Romania.
Stats Don't Lie: Kosovo finished the game shooting 39 percent from the field. Romania were at 47 percent, good enough to survive the pressure from the packed stands.
Game Hero: Watson scored 23 points, but Cate's heroics get him the game honors, as the big guy finished with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Game Notes: It is amazing that Kosovo finished without a win in four games, given the fact that their largest defeat was by 10 points. Romania were tied with MKD at the top of the standings, but MKD won the tiebreaker and advanced to the FIBA EuroBasket 2021 Qualifiers. Kosovo and Romania will play in the FIBA EuroBasket 2021 Pre-Qualifiers Third Round.
They Said: "I am very proud of my team because playing against Kosovo is not easy at all especially in their home court. We have a young team and the results they are making are satisfying. We were fighting all 40 minutes and I believe that's why we came up with positive results." - Tudor Costescu, Romania head coach
"I am very happy that we won this game. I think that we deserved it because we put a lot of effort from the very beginning and we took advantage of the mistakes our opponents made." - Mirel Dragoste, Romania
"This game was a big disappointment for me. First of all, Dardan Berisha's absence last few minutes cost us a lot, and we can notice how important he is for our team, but still some players need to step up and take responsibility. I think that at the end, we weren't brave and concentrated enough, and that's why we lost the game." - Damir Mulaomerovic, Kosovo head coach
"I am very sad and disappointed because of our loss. I think that the reason why we lost was because at the end we didn't play with whole heart and we had lack of concentration." - Mikaile Tmusic, Kosovo