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Depleted Fuenlabrada Win Thriller

10 January 2012
EUROCHALLENGE

Fuenlabrada scraped a 73-70 victory over BC Nizhny Novgorod in Spain on Tuesday evening with newcomer Saul Blanco the hero.

In the EuroChallenge Last 16 Group K encounter, the hosts got 18 points and eight rebounds from Blanco, who parted company with Unicaja Malaga last week and joined forces with Fuenlabrada.

Having seen center Gustavo Ayon to the NBA's New Orleans Hornets before Christmas and with big men Leo Mainoldi and Mouhamed Sené hurt - (Sené was confirmed earlier on Tuesday to have been lost for the season to a serious knee injury), Porfirio Fisac's team dug deep to beat their opponents from Russia.

Fuenlabrada trailed 54-53 at the end of the third quarter but went on a run in the fourth that saw them take a 62-55 lead with 7:18 remaining.

The hosts then went cold, and BC NN battled back with a 13-2 run capped by Semen Antonov's tip-in which gave them a 68-65 advantage with 1:51 to play.

After Kirk Penney and Lubos Barton each made two free-throws, Antonov sank a pair to knot the contest at 70-70 with 43 seconds to go.

That set the stage for a thrilling finish, and Blanco came to the fore.

The 26-year-old guard, playing in his first EuroChallenge game of the season, caught a pass from Penney and buried a jumper.

After Nemanja Protic missed for the visitors, BC NN fouled Blanco and he sank one of two for a three-point lead.

Antonov attempted a potential game-tying three-pointer but was off target.

Ivan Paunic claimed the offensive rebound but was called for travelling as Fuenlabrada held on.

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