|Sani Becirovic delivered a well-rounded performance with 21 points, five rebounds and six assists|
KRKA Novo Mesto rallied from 17 points down in regulation to top Cholet Basket 93-88 in overtime in a key battle in Group J of the EuroChallenge.
A match-up of teams needing to improve 1-2 records was often intense, but Cholet dominated the third period as they built a huge lead only to see KRKA close all the way back up and then force overtime with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Zvonko Buljan.
They then made sure it did not go to waste as further threes from Erjon Kastrati and Jaka Klobucar helped them pull away in the extra period.
Cholet had begun to edge clear late in the second period and kept the momentum going early in the third.
When Torey Thomas hit three-pointers to bookend an 11-0 run they had jumped into a 54-38 lead and it was 57-40 when Rudy Jomby connected from deep.
KRKA responded with six straight but it was not until the fourth quarter that their rally got going, with a 12-2 run giving them a 68-67 edge on Sani Becirovic's jump-shot.
That set-up another scrap to the finish. Eric Chatfield's free throws gave Cholet a late 80-77 lead, but after Lamayn Wilson missed a three which would have iced it, Buljan sent the game into overtime.
KRKA scored the first five points and the big shots from Kastrati and Klobucar ensured there was no way back for the hosts.
Becirovic finished with 21 points for KRKA while Christopher Booker had 17, Klobucar and Buljan adding 13 each.
Wilson had 20 for Cholet with Jomby collecting 13.
Cholet Basket Head Coach Laurent Buffard
"There is one thing which changed the game: the technical of the coach [Aleksandar Dzikic]. Moreover we panicked during the last five minutes of the fourth quarter. We had to make a foul to stop the game but we did not do it. The defence of Novo Mesto was aggressive and we did not adapt to it."
Cholet Basket Player Claude Marquis
"We were not consistent during the fourth quarter. We did not think very well and that is the reason we lost."
Novo Mesto Head Coach Aleksandar Dzikic
"I will be honest. We are not satisfied at all. We won thanks to our last shots but that is all. This game is the ninth that we played outside of Novo Mesto, and now we just want to go home. We are exhausted and homesick. Regarding my technical, this is the second I have in five seasons and I did not do it in order to change the game. Thank you to every fan of Cholet; this was a pleasure seeing kids happy."
Novo Mesto Player Zvonko Buljan
„To score in the last seconds of the fourth quarter...I just tried to find an open shot. This is something I practiced and fortunately for us we won at the end. We stayed positive during the game."