Germany Stump Sweden
Posted by Salman Mitha
Posted in Basketball
Eurobasket 2013 Qualification – Group B
Germany 81, Sweden 66
ratiopharm arena, Ulm, August 24 – Germany started their road to Slovenia with many questions, the biggest one was creating an identity without superstar and legend Dirk Nowitzki. After three games, the young team has developed an exciting, balanced attack with aggressiveness on defense. An identity that may help them qualify for the European championships next summer.
Heiko Schaffartizik and Robin Benzing each scored 15 ppoints and local hero Lucca Staiger added 12 points as Germany defeated Sweden 81-66 to improve their record to 3-0. Jonas Jerebko led all scorers with 22 points as Sweden drop to 1-2, with both their losses coming on the road.
Sweden jumped out to an early lead, Detroit Pistons’ Jerebko scoring seven points for the 11-5 lead. But a 9-0 run by the hosts, led by Benzing’s five points and Tibor Pleiss’ four points, gave them their first lead at 14-11.
The Swedes regrouped after a timeout, and after a Christian Maraker trey, regained the lead at 17-16. That would be the last time they would be in front. Staiger nailed a long distance shot right before the end of the quarter, and Germany led 19-17 after the first 10 minutes.
Maraker hit a bucket to tie the game, but the Germans went on a decisive 19-5 run. Schaffartzik and his point guard teammate Per Günther would control the action, making sure the team got involved. And when the shot was there, Schaffartzik nailed two three pointers, the second building the lead up to 38-24 and a Sweden timeout. At halftime head coach Svetislav Pešić’s men took a 45-28 lead into the locker rooms.
Mikael Lundqvist nailed a three pointer at the beginning of the third quarter, showing signs of life for a Swedish team looking for their first road win in this campaign. What the Germans did next, perhaps demonstrated what kind of team we can expect.
Philipp Schwethelm, Günther, and Schaffartzik hit on four consecutive treys during a 14-2 run, the ball moving around, finding the open man for the easy shot. The lead was 59-33 and the game was effectively over heading into the final quarter with Germany leading 66-42.
Sweden finally woke up to start the fourth quarter, Jerebko scored 5 points and finally got some support from his team. Martin Pahlmblad scored 8 points during an 11-0 run to get the deficit down to 70-58, timeout Deutschland with 5:40 left.
Staiger, who was born minutes from the arena in nearby Söflingen, hit a three pointer, matching his scoring contributions from the other games. After Benzing scored to make it 76-61, Günther drew an offensive foul, and on the ensuing possession, Benzing put the nail in this one, a three-pointer, and a 79-61 lead. Günther scored the final points on an easy lay-in.
Germany now head on the road for two tough games, the first one in Azerbaijan on August 27th. They return to Europe, playing at Luxembourg on September 2nd.
Sweden will look to get back in the win column at home for the next two games, hosting Luxembourg on August 28th and Bulgaria two days later.