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Szolnoki Earn Final Four Spot At Ventspils

20 March 2012
EUROCHALLENGE

11. Obie Trotter (Szolnoki Olaj)
Szolnoki Olaj point guard Obie Trotter led all scorers with 20 points

Szolnoki Olaj showed they can win big games on the road by downing BK Ventspils on Tuesday to join the Final Four party in the EuroChallenge.

Beaten like a drum in Game 1 in Latvia, the Hungarians evened the best-of-three series on Thursday in front of their own fans and then travelled back to Ventspils and won Game 3, 82-78.

Obie Trotter finished with 20 points, including a perfect eight-of-eight night at the free-throw line.

Six of those shots from the charity stripe came in the last minute of the contest when the Hungarian team killed the game off.

Szolnoki shooting guard Julien Mills was also immense with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Ventspils had a magnificent campaign in Europe and led by 14 late in the first quarter, but Gundars Vetra's side didn't deliver the knockout punch.

Instead Peter Por's team clawed its way back and went in front at 45-44 when Akos Horvath drilled a shot from the arc to cap an 8-0 run.

Mamadi Diane went to the other end and buried a three-ball for Ventspils, only for Zoltán Trepák to connect from long range for the visitors on their next possession.

His two free-throws extended the lead to 52-47 but Steven Gray's three-pointer for Ventspils cut the Szolnoki advantage to 52-50, with just 10 minutes remaining.

The game remained tight, with an Arturs Berzins three-pointer giving Ventspils a 60-58 lead.

Berzins' three-point play put Ventspils in front, 63-60, with 4:28 to go.

Hristo Nikolov, who has hit a lot of big three-pointers for Szolnoki this season, nailed one with 3:18 to go for a 66-65 lead and then sank two free-throws on the team's next trip down the floor.

Szolnoki ended up hitting nine of 10 free-throws in the last 48 seconds to seal the victory.

Gray's three-pointer at the death for Ventspils left Szolnoki with an 82-78 win.

Szolnoki were 22 of 30 (73.3%) at the free-throw line while Ventspils took seven trips to the line and made all of them.

Por's club has won 12 of its 13 home games in the EuroChallenge the past two seasons and now, they have a famous road win to brag about.

Szolnoki are two wins away from the title.

They have joined Elan Chalon and Besiktas Milangaz in the Final Four.

 

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