|Okapi Aalstar's Christopher Copeland was simply unstoppable, leading the Belgian side to victory with 33 points on 73.3 percent shooting from the floor|
Okapi Aalstar survived in an 86-84 thriller in Belgium on Tuesday night against Szolnoki Olaj to keep their hopes of playing in the EuroChallenge Quarter-Finals alive.
The result has left both sides with 2-3 records in Group J of the Last 16.
The visitors from Hungary, after trailing by 11 points in the first half, battled back and took an 84-83 lead when Hristo Nikolov drilled a three-pointer with 39 seconds to play.
Christopher Copeland, who had a game-high 33 points for Aalstar, answered with a go-ahead jump shot with 19 seconds remaining.
After a Szolnoki timeout, Akos Horvath attempted a three-pointer but missed and the Hungarians then had to foul and put Copeland on the line.
He made the first but missed the second, yet Aalstar held on for a two-point triumph.
Nikolov had 24 points in defeat for Szolnoki, who were 12 of 31 from long range.
They were just six of 12 at the free-throw line compared to 22 of 27 for the hosts.
Szolnoki Head Coach Peter Por
"Congratulations to Aalstar. In Szolnok we played with more pressure and this was the key. In the first half we had problems with the defence on Copeland. In the second half we did a better job on defence and our shot percentage was better so we came back in the game. There was only one basket's difference."
Aalstar Head Coach Brad Dean
"We were very hungry after the huge lost game in Hungary. We played not great but hard. We came a little bit in trouble when Trepak came in and shot a lot of three-pointers. Finally we found our rythm back with Copeland and Young in a great offensive role."
Szolnoki player Hristo Nikolov
"It was a good game for the fans and the gym. We came back in the game but defensively we had problems with Copeland. It was a close game and we still have chances to qualify to the quarter-finals."
Aalstar player Chris Copeland
"We knew we could perform better than the first game where we were blown away. Chris Young played a great game in the paint and I, I was just lucky with my 33 points. We don't have the key for the quarter-finals in our hands but we stay focused for beating Chalon in three weeks. That's the only thing we can do."