If you would like to meet a team that never gives up, say hello to Charleroi of Belgium. Playing on the road at Idea Slask Wroclaw in Poland, Charleroi prevailed 94-95 in overtime on Wednesday after staging one of the unlikeliest comebacks imaginable. If there was ever any doubt that a Euroleague victory means the world to all teams, the bottom two clubs in Group A erased that doubt on Wednesday. Charleroi was trailing by 9 points, 84-75, with just 47 seconds left in regulation time when the miracles began. Veteran point guard Jacques Stas scored 7 points in a frenzied 9-0 run to tie the game, including an 8-meter, one-handed three-point buzzer-beater following a missed layup by Andrei Fetisov of Wroclaw. But that only sent the game to overtime. There, Charleroi took an 87-93 lead with 1:30 remaining, only to watch Wroclaw rally with baskets by Maciej Zielinski and Michael Hawkins sandwiched around a Dainius Adomaitis three-pointer. With just 6 seconds left, Wroclaw led 94-93. But the ball was back in the hands of Stas and the Charleroi captain was not to be denied tonight. He threaded a pass under the basket to Jim Potter, who finished this most incredible game with a slam dunk! Both teams were left at 2-5, still at the bottom of Group A, but this one wasn't about records. It was about inspiration!
Roger Huggins was the top scorer for Charleroi with 27 points, but the hero of the day was Stas, who finished with 19. Fetisov scored 16 points for Wroclaw, but was blamed for loss. Michael Hawkins added 16 points and 5 assists. The was a lot of emotion in last minutes, but for over three quarters the game was somewhat boring. Charleroi made a better start. They led 17-12 thanks to 2 three-pointers by Ronald Ellis. By quarter's end, Wroclaw was able to cut the visitors' advantage to one, 19-20. The second quarter began with an 8-0 run for Wroclaw, mainly thanks to points from its inside players, who dominated the battle on the boards (19-10 in the first half). Gintaras Einikis played well (9 points) and the Wroclaw advantage could have been bigger, but Huggins was hot for Charleroi. He scored 10 of 16 team points in the second quarter, which finsihed with Wroclaw ahead 45-36. In the first minutes of the fourth quarter back-up point guard Tomas Pacesas performed well for Slask, making a pair of three-pointers and adding some assists as Wroclaw assumed the lead. But it wasn't for good. What happened in the last minutes is really hard to explain. Slask was leading 84-75 with just 47 second to go, but then Charleroi made probably the biggest come back of this year's Euroleague. They scored 9 points and tied the game! Slask helped them with some tournouvers. And with just 5 seconds to go Fetisov went to the basket for a layup but missed Stas got the ball, dribbled and made a one hand shot from about 8 meters. Nobody could believe it,
In overtime, the situation was completely different. The game was already won, but Charleroi, which led 93-87 with 90 seconds minute remaining allowed Slask to score 7 consecutive points. The last two, on a mid-range shot by Hawkins, put the home team ahead 94-93. There was 6 seconds left but Stas was ready again, dishing the ball to Potter for an easy dunk!
Wednesday, December 12, 2001