|John Cox, now playing for Cholet played a veteran hand with16 points|
Cholet Basket have prevailed in a topsy-turvy encounter to squeeze out a 70-69 victory over EuroChallenge Group G rivals Kataja Basket.
Both teams went into the encounter holding 2-1 records and Bakken Bears' loss earlier in the evening to the previously winless ZZ Leiden means Cholet Basket now sit alone at the top of the group.
Given the stakes riding on the outcome, the game provided the appropriate intensity with neither team holding a buffer of more than six whilst switching the lead 14 times and sharing the score on a further 12 occasions.
It continued to switch in the last five minutes, a John Cox three-pointer putting Cholet up 63-62 with 3:59 to play, only for Antti Kanervo to reply for the guests. The sides then traded shots from inside the perimeter, seeing the game tied up at 69 with 37 seconds to play when Lamayn Wilson split a pair from the charity stripe in what would turn out to be the game's decisive point.
Following a timeout Teemu Rannikko turned the ball over but when Wilson missed on the next attempt, Rannikko had the chance to redeem himself at the other end of the court. However, with two seconds remaining the shot proved off the mark, allowing Cholet to breath easier.
Veteran Cox had 16 points for the home team, followed by Terrell Stoglin with 15 and Rudy Jomby 11 points and eight boards.
Petri Virtanen had 13 in a losing effort.
Jukka Toijala, head coach Kataja Basket:
"We are very disappointed to lose by a point after a great fight. There was very tough defense on both sides of the court tonight. We had the last shot, but you know, it's sport, sometimes the last shot is in, sometimes is out."
Jean Sousa, head coach Cholet Basket:
"Congratulations to my team for this victory tonight, this is essential for us. We lacked rhythm in offense, so it was very difficult for us to control this game. Finally, we won and tonight we took the first place of this group."
John Cox, Cholet Basket:
"It was a very difficult game for us tonight. Both teams could have won it but we didn't miss our last shot and finally won. We knew that we will have to fight tonight and we did so. Thanks to our fans who helped us to get this victory."