The Netherlands shocked the European basketball community and especially the Montenegrins in what was the pick of the games in the third round of the 2015 Eurobasket Qualifying Round.
Bosnia & Herzegovina tightened their grip on top of Group A with a 72-62 win at home to Iceland.
Mirza Teletovic was once again outstanding as the Brooklyn Nets forward notched up 29 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bosnians, who improve to 2-0. Iceland goes to 1-1.
A quite remarkable third quarter helped Netherlands to a shock 65-60 win over Montenegro in Podgorica.
In a low scoring first half, the hosts led 36-30, but the Dutch came out all guns blazing, holding the Montenegrins to just five points in the third, while scoring 20 of their own and holding on for the vital road win.
Roeland Schaftenaar led Netherlands with 18 points.
“Defence has decided the winner of the match,” Netherlands coach Toon Van Helfteren said. “We played very well in defence and it is our basketball philosophy, the way we play in every match. We managed to reduce Montenegro to 60 points, which is below the average number of points achieved by Montenegro in the first two games in qualification and that was the key to victory.
“We maybe don’t have great shooters and maybe we did not have the highest level on attack, but when we play well in defence, we can count on victory.”
The other game in the group saw Israel comfortably see-off winless Bulgaria 100-84 in Sofia. Omri Casspi leading the way for the winners with 19 points.
Israel top the group, but three teams in Group B are on 2-1 records.
Austria were the other team to cause an upset as they defeated previously unbeaten Poland 83-81.
Thomas Klepeisz scored with a lay-up in the last seconds to hand Austria the win. Rasid Mahalbasic led them with 24 points.
“Incredible,” Mahalbasic said afterwards. “It was a team effort. Not only for 37 minutes, but over 40. We were lucky in the end, but we deserved it”
Germany held minnows Luxembourg to just 14 points in the second half, en route to an easy 109-49 win in Trier.
The Germans outrebounded their opponents 53-13 in a serious mismatch.
FYR of Macedonia stay top of Group D thanks to an 81-70 win away to Belarus. The win puts them at 3-0 overall.
Bojan Trajkovski hit his first four three-points, on his way to 17 points. The Macedonians hit 16 triples for an impressive 51 percent from the floor.
Belgium grabbed a 71-50 victory over Denmark to stay in touch with the group leaders.
Georgia came back from 23-points down to beat Portugal 91-90 in overtime, denying the Portuguese their first win in the group and Georgia going 2-1 in the process.
Zaza Pachulia led the Georgians with 25 points and 9 rebounds in a thriller that went the distance.
“We came here to win the game,” Georgia coach Igor Kokoskov said. “Portugal played well, they played the game we expected. It was a very difficult game for us but we managed to change the game in the second half.”
Czech Republic held on to beat Hungary 66-63 in Nymburk, meaning all teams, apart from Portugal are on 2-1 records in the group.
Sweden defeated Slovak Republic 75-72 on the road to claim their first win of the Eurobasket Qualifiers.
Martin Pahlmblad led the way for Sweden with 14 points.
Latvia are now the only unbeaten side in Group F after they beat Romania 88-65 in Riga, thanks to a second half showing where they outscored their Romanian opponents 52-30.
Janis Blums led Latvia with 17 points.
With Russia not in action, Italy improved to 2-0 with a comfortable 90-60 home win over Switzerland.
The Italians outscored their Swiss counterparts 22-8 in the first ten minutes as Alessandro Gentile and Pietro Aradori both led with 17 points each.
TalkBasket’s John Hobbs contributed to this report