|Welcome Back: Sean May made a well-timed return to EuroChallenge action for Paris Levallois, scoring 26 points in a must-win encounter|
Paris Levallois used a strong third quarter to come back and claim a hard-fought 80-74 road victory over Szolnoki Olaj in the winner-takes-all clash for a place in the last eight of the EuroChallenge.
With the two teams locked together in the standings behind BCM Gravelines, the objective was clear for both sets of players, setting up a tense, sometimes frantic contest.
The lead changed hands 17 times with seven ties until Paris claimed it, seemingly for good, early in the third quarter.
They did so with an 8-0 charge that turned a 38-34 deficit into a 42-38 edge on John Cox's three-point play.
Two big threes from Antoine Diot soon after afforded them a 53-46 edge but Szolnoki kept scrapping and Paris needed Andrew Albicy's free throws to finish the third quarter with a 57-52 lead.
Albicy then opened the final stanza with a three-pointer but Szolnoki were not done yet and they would bring themselves level once more when Ernests Kalve hit a pair of free throws to follow James Florence's three and make it 69-69 with 4:45 to go.
Florence's jump-shot cancelled out Sean May's for Paris, but the visitors from France began to edge clear again as May's three followed Cox's jumper to make it 76-71 with 2:51 to play.
Tensions then seemed to get the better of both teams as neither added to their score for 110 seconds, Diot eventually ending the drought when he split a pair of free thows with 61 seconds to go.
Akos Horvath then missed a three-pointer for Szolnoki and Paris were able to put the game away from the line.
May led Paris with 26 points while Jonathan Aka had 16 and Cox 12.
Marton Bader's 13 points led Szolnoki with Kalve adding 11 and Florence 10.