Audacious Antwerp Surprise Banvit


Bryan Hopkins and the Antwerp Giants stunned Banvit BC in Turkey on the opening night of the EuroChallenge Last 16.

Hopkins, a 26-year-old shooting guard, erupted for a season-high 28 points as Antwerp rolled to an 88-80 victory in Group L.

Antwerp won just three of their six games in the Regular Season and travelled to Istanbul to face a Banvit side that had claimed five wins in its six games.

The Belgians tore up the form book with a dominating first half when they led by as many as 20 points.

Hopkins had 18 of his points before the break.

Banvit managed to reduce the deficit to 44-30 only for a Thomas Gardner lay-up at the end of the second quarter to give the Giants a 46-30 lead.

The home side gave the local fans cause for hope in the third-quarter when they reeled off seven unanswered points to trim a 15-point deficit to just 60-52.

Antwerp responded with a 10-1 run with Timothy Black scoring six of those points.

Banvit did go on a scoring spree in the last 2:37 that made an interesting finish.

Trailing 86-71 after Hopkins' fifth three-pointer, Keith Simmons sparked a 9-0 Banvit run by hitting a shot from the arc and then a pair of free-throws.

When Lance Williams capped the spurt with a tip-in, Banvit were behind 86-80 with just 26 seconds to play.

That was as close as they would get, with Hopkins adding a pair of free-throws for Antwerp to finish the scoring.

Simmons led Banvit with 20 points.

The Turkish team hurt its own cause by making just 24 of 35 free-throws.

Antwerp shot the ball well at the charity stripe, making 16 of 19.



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