YEREVAN (FIBA.com) – Fans carried Armenia to their second win in three games, staying alive in the hunt for the Second Round in FIBA EuroBasket 2021 Pre-Qualifiers after beating Albania 84-65 in Yerevan Mika stadium.
Albania enjoyed an 18-11 lead late in Q1, but coach Niksa Bavcevic managed to wake his guys up. A 9-0 run got Armenia in front even before the end of the quarter, and a partial score of 26-5 gave the hosts a double digit lead at the half. It was smooth sailing from there on, as Armenia climb to 2-1 in Group B.
With Ryan Boatright not playing, the floor opened up for A.J. Hess and Andrew Chrabascz to do the scoring. Hess finished with a game-high 21 points, Chrabascz had 12 of his 18 in the first half. Lucas Fischer also had himself a game. Nobody crashes the boards like the 6’11” (2.12m) Armenian center, who compiled 16 points and 18 rebounds – the latter being the new Pre-Qualifiers record. Aragad Abramian had a nice game in Boatright’s playmaker position, with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
Armenia won the rebounding battle, and it wasn’t even close at 46-28. Domination down low allowed Armenia to build a 48-34 advantage in points in the paint. The bench will have to improve, averaging 3.5 points heading into this game, Bavcevic’s second unit scored only 4 points.
“I want to thank all the spectators. I think this time it was the biggest attendance, which really motivated us. Also, I want to thank my players, they showed a great wish. We were playing without Albert Tatevosyan, who is a very important player for the team. But because of the good atmosphere in the team, we could win. I hope that our players from USA will join us in June and we will have good chances against Denmark” – Armenia head coach Niksa Bavcevic stated after the victory.