Split 2013, EM Diary: Entry 5
In the quarterfinals of the European Student Basketball Championships, perhaps the strongest team of the tournament was waiting for the KIT selection. The hosts from Split can recruit their players exclusively from the first and second Croatian league and have been preparing for this tournament for a year. The goal is clearly to win the European Championship, after they lost the final at the last European Championship only very narrowly.
Our boys went into the game as underdogs and also had to do without Alex Rueck, who was down with fever.
The first action in the game was spectacular with a dunk by Elnis Prasovic and our guys could even take a 6:2 lead with the first actions. Also in the next minutes the game could be balanced and after 8 minutes we were suddenly in the lead against the big favorite 17:13. The surprised hosts had a hard time with our passionate style of play in the beginning, but then found a little better into the game at the end of the first quarter. So our best quarter of the tournament so far ended with a 21:20 lead.
Two quick threes by the hosts at the beginning of the second quarter then brought a change of the lead but the KIT team kept fighting. Except for the free-throw quota, the tactics worked out by Uli Himstedt worked out perfectly and so our boys could keep the game open until the middle of the second quarter. By four in sequence rejected free throws one built up the host then however and had to go thereby with a 30:37 arrears into the half-time break.
Nevertheless: What the guys have shown here in the first half was first class!
Also at the beginning of the third quarter the frenetic, Croatian spectators saw a balanced game, however, the University of Split was able to set off more and more with increasing playing time. The Croatians were also helped by the fact that our best man of the first half, the point guard Moritz Nägele, could no longer be used due to a circulatory collapse. So we had to start the last quarter with a 39:58 deficit.
Also in the last part of the game Moritz Nägele could not play anymore and so the soul of our game was missing in the venerable, very stuffy and hot sports hall of Split. The Croatians were now able to show all their strength, although our guys fought sacrificially. Thus, the game ended for the very passionate hosts, who obviously can withstand the high pressure of expectations, in line with the score 83:60.
Coach Uli Himstedt praised his boys after the game "Our team represented KIT worthily today and we can leave the court with our heads held high after a great fight. The opponent was simply too strong today."
Maybe without Veletzungspech not only a close game but even a sensation would have been possible. Now the team will play for fifth place and will have to face the winner of the Cologne vs. Belgrade game in tomorrow night's match (8:30 p.m.).