Szolnoki Deny Brave Rilski Sportist

05.11.2013

EUROCHALLENGE

4. Balázs Simon (Szolnoki Olaj)
Balazs Simon did a good job distributing the ball, dishing out a game-high six assists

Hosts Szolnoki Olaj trailed EuroChallenge debutants Rilski Sportist for most of the night during the opening clash of the season between the two teams on Tuesday, but finished strong to clinch a 73-66 win.

The scores were tied at 60 with less than four minutes remaining in the Group H encounter but Szolnoki guard Willie Warren scored seven of his game-high 20 points in that final stretch to lift his team to their opening night success.

The Bulgarian newcomers to the competition made their intentions known right from tip-off and led by as many as 12 points (14-2) in the first quarter, before a 10-0 Szolnoki run turned the clash into the tight affair that fans in Hungary would witness for the rest of the night.

Rilski led 34-31 at half-time and Evan Ravenel and Corin Henry capitalised on Szolnoki turnovers to score easy baskets in transition in quick succession and open up an eight-point gap for the guests, 44-36, midway through the third quarter.

Warren with five quick-fire points brought the hosts within a point's distance, 48-47, shortly before the end of the period, and the same player drilled a triple to finally give Szolnoki the lead, 52-51, with 7:50 remaining in the final frame.

Rilski would not give up so easily though and Auston Calhoun sunk a jumper 4:37 from the final buzzer to restore the guests into the driver's seat, 60-58.

Big man Peter Lorant however took it upon himself to restore order and scored twice from the low post and then split two free throws with 2:48 on the clock to give Szolnoki some breathing space, 63-60.

Zlatin Georgiev was fouled by Lorant on the other end but missed both free throws and a chance to reduce the gap.

On the next possession, Warren split the Bulgarian defence and scored with a lay-up to give Szolnoki a five-point lead for the first time in the game, 65-60, with just 2:16 left to play.

Henry replied on the other end but Tomislav Ivosev swiftly restored Szolnoki's five-point cushion with another lay-up and Warren made it 69-62 with only 54 seconds to the final buzzer to seal Szolnoki's victory.

Warren had seven rebounds and five assists to go with his 20 points, while Ivosev went a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.

For Rilski, Henry and Sean Barnette scored 15 points apiece, the latter also adding eight rebounds and four assists in a losing effort.

 


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