Estudiantes Take Plaudits In Thriller


Estudiantes kept their 100% EuroCup record intact on Tuesday night, but they needed to dig deep to see off a battling CSU Asesoft Ploiesti side in a thrilling Group A encounter.

Estu eventually prevailed 117-111 after overtime but Asesoft, on the back of an immense display from Bojan Obradovic, were on course for their first win of the tournament when they led 95-87 with one minute 37 seconds of regulation time remaining.

A Carlo Suarez three-pointer then sparked a 7-0 run that brought Estu back to within one point at 95-94, but Asesoft still looked clear favourites to take the spoils when a Sasa Ocokoljic free throw put them ahead 102-99 with just two seconds remaining.

But there was to be a late twist in the tale as a personal foul from Darius Hargrove on Marlon Garnett sent the American guard to the free throw line needing to sink all three of his efforts to take the game into overtime.

Despite knowing that one mistake would likely spell defeat for his side, the 31-year-old Garnett coolly downed each of his shots to tie the game up at 102-102 at the buzzer.

Asesoft could have buckled after seeing victory snatched from their grasp right at the death, even more so knowing they would be going into overtime without the services of Obradovic, who had fouled out late in the final quarter having recorded a match-high 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

But the Romanian side kept on battling and were only 110-109 down when Estu finally broke their resistance.

Goran Nikolic's jump shot was quickly followed by a Suarez three-pointer, and Estu suddenly found themselves 115-109 ahead and on their way to a fourth victory out of four in Group A. 

Sergio Sanchez Cardenas top-scored for the victors with 26 points, but he received good support from Suarez and Garnett, who both contributed 19 points.

For Asesoft, Obradovic was the star of the show, but Ocokoljic also shone with 24 points and eight assists, while Hargrove added 18 points and grabbed a match-high 10 rebounds.

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