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Spartak Win But Blow Big Lead Vs ETHA

28 September 2011
Eurocup Qualifying Round
13. Miha Zupan (Spartak)
Miha Zupan was good for 7 points in only 8 minutes in Spartak's close win

ETHA ENGOMI may have lost the game but they gave themselves a great chance of reaching the Eurocup with a terrific fourth-quarter comeback against Spartak St Petersburg on Wednesday evening.

The first leg of the Qualifying Round tie was played in Nicosia, Cyprus, and Spartak prevailed 60-59.

But Jure Zdovc's players will be thinking they should have claimed an even bigger margin of victory since they led 50-36 late in the third quarter and 55-47 midway through the fourth.

Helping ETHA dig themselves out the big hole in the last five minutes of the contest were Shawn Ray, Dejan Cup and Thomas Massamba.

Ray, who had a team-high 15 points, scored two of them on a jumper to close the gap to 60-55 with 2:41 to go.

Cup then followed with a driving lay-up to trim the deficit to 60-57.

Fouled on the play, he missed the free-throw.

Massamba then drew a foul by Patrick Beverley with 1:01 to go and sank two free-throws to make it 60-59.

Both sides had opportunities to score at the end but failed, including Spartak's Nikola Dragovic when his shot from the arc was off target.

Patrick Okafor weighed in with 10 points and five rebounds and Cup finished with eight points and eight boards.

For first-leg winners Spartak, Israel international Yotam Halperin had a game-high 16 points.

The return leg will be played in Russia next week.

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