F.Y.R. of Macedonia Shatter Home Dreams

14.09.2011

EUROBASKET 2011

Turning Point: Vlado Ilievski capitalised on a horrendous turnover by Lithuania by making a stunning three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining. In the end, it decided the game.

Game Heroes: Aside from Ilievski making what was the game-winning shot and subsequent free throws in the last second to seal the deal, Bo McCalebb has 23 points but the true hero was Vojdan Stojanovski who didn't miss a single shot in the game and made all five triples.

Stats Don't Lie: Lithuania only got to the foul line eight times.



The incredible run of F.Y.R. of Macedonia continues after they won a memorable and epic tussle with Lithuania to reach the semi-finals.

Amidst almost unbearable tension in Kaunas, they left the hosts heartbroken as they once again continued with their amazing ability to keep games tight and take them down to the wire.

The last thing F.Y.R. of Macedonia wanted was a high tempo game and Lithuania's game plan was no surprise as they pushed the ball hard down the court at every opportunity.

One thing they didn't do well however was boxing out and gave up four early offensive rebounds which, combined with three-pointers by Vojdan Stojanovski and Vlado Ilievski kept F.Y.R. of Macedonia within a point at 11-10.

Lithuania then scored six points without reply and at 17-10 with the influential Pero Antic and Bo McCalebb a combined 0 of 6 in the game, F.Y.R. of Macedonia were on the ropes early.

However, the latter came alive to rattle off the last seven points of the quarter for his team to ensure they were only 20-18 behind heading into the second period.

F.Y.R. of Macedonia simply had to slow the pace and they did a good job of doing so, restricting Lithuania to just three points in almost five minutes while McCalebb continued his hot streak, scoring from range to keep his team close at 22-21.

Lithuania needed to raise the temperature and after a time-out, they wrestled the initiative back with a 9-1 run sparked by a dunk by captain Robertas Javtokas who was certainly leading his team by example.

Just when it looked as if F.Y.R. of Macedonia might wilt under the pressure, they kept their composure and limited the damage to ensure they only trailed 34-30 at the interval.

Successive three-pointers by the excellent Vojdan Stojanovski tied the scores at 38-38 and with Lithuania committing five fouls inside four minutes, F.Y.R. of Macedonia took the lead for the first time.

Darius Songaila kept Lithuania ticking over while a big play inside by Jonas Valanciunas was pivotal, helping his team to a slender 52-49 lead heading into the final quarter.

Vojdan Stojanovski however was on fire and flawless from downtown as he made his fifth triple of the game to help set ensure a thrilling and nail biting climax.

It came down to crunch time yet again for F.Y.R. of Macedonia and with McCalebb making huge plays at the basket, the pressure was on Lithuania who led by as many as four points during the last minute.

However Ilievski stepped up to deliver the knockout blow, sending the travelling F.Y.R. of Macedonia fans into raptures and the fans of the hosts wondering what might have been.


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