Scotland’s under-18 men staged an incredible fightback to come from 16 points down at half-time and beat close rivals Ireland 82-78 in the European Junior Basketball Championships in Furstenfeld, Austria.
Facing a veritable man-mountain in 6ft 8in Irishman Jordan Blount, who had been averaging 26 points a game and tallied 40 yesterday, coach Craig Nicol’s team must have thought all was lost when they trailed 11-27 after the first quarter.
But they held their nerve and shared the second 17-17.
What a transformatioon in the third which Scotland took 29-17 and, with Blaze player Tony Low-Macrae stepping up with 16 points and nine rebounds and clubmate Tom Skinner adding 13 points and three steals, Scotland took the lead for the first time 76-75 with under two minutes left.
Blount replied with another two to bring up his 40 tally but twice missed three-point attempts as Ireland took three time-outs in quick succession in a vain attempt to salvage the game.
Skinner made it 78-77 for Scotland and a Ewan Lancaster basket and bonus made it 81-78. Kings’ Findlay Wood, Scotland’s stalwart point guard, went to the line with three seconds left and secured the free throw which sealed the Scots’ second win and was his first point of the game.
But he had five rebounds and three assists while clubmate Kyle Jimenez was again among the points with 14 plus five rebounds and five assists and Lancaster added 12 points and eight rebounds.