Levski won their last game in the group stage of the Eurohold Balkan League

Levski won their last game in the group stage of the Eurohold Balkan League
Levski won in Bucharest
17-02-2009 18:27

Levski finished with a victory their last game in the group stage of the Eurohold Balkan League this season. They defeated Dinamo Bucharest for the second time and ended their regular season with a record of 4 wins and 4 losses. In Sala Rapid in the Romanian capital Levski won 86-69. Hosts Dinamo Bucharest ended their participation in this year edition of Eurohold Balkan League as they were eliminated even before the start of tonight`s game. The Romanians won only 1 of 8 games and couldn`t qualify for the quarterfinal playoffs.

Levski will finish either third or fourth in the Group B table. They depend on the outcome of the game Fersped Rabotnicki - Mega Hypo Leasing this coming Thursday. If Mega HL win, Levski will be fourth and will have to play against favourites Swisslion Takovo in the quarterfinals. However if Mega Hypo Leasing lose their game in Skopje, Levski will play either against Feni Industries or Euroins Cherno More.

One thing is for sure now – Levski will play at home their first game of the quarters next Wednesday and will travel a week later for the return leg.

Tonight`s game in front of a handful of spectators (because of the early hour on a weekday) logically went the way of the better team - Levski, although its players didn`t show 100% of their abilities. Although the visitors scored the first basket, they seemed a bit slow to concentrate and get into the best playing mood and conceded the next 7 points to trail 7-2. But then they started to play better defence and pass the ball better in offence, so they cut their deficit to a single point in the 8th minute. Dinamo`s performance was further disrupted when their power forward Demetrius Williams lost a contact lens and the game was stopped for quite a few minutes to search for it. He was substituted for a while, but just a minute later his replacement Viorel Mocanu got hit in the face badly, was out of the game himself and was never able to return. The Bulgarian team somehow didn`t lose their rhythm though and completed their come-back - they tied the game 19-19 at the end of the first quarter.

They started the second even better and at lightning speed. Their fast breaks were usually done with a brilliant single long pass by Charles Jones and were finished by fellow American guard Marcus Hall, who seemed unstoppable. When Hall started to score mercilessly from behind the arc too, his team went in front by a 9-point margin - 21-30. He hit 2 more three-pointers until the break and Levski even led by 11, but conceded the last two baskets of the first half for a half-time score of 33-40.

The second half was only interesting and competitive until its third minute, when it was 39-44. Guard Chris Reaves and center Kiril Pavlovski had kept Dinamo in the game during those opening 23 minutes, but now their performances were starting to fade. At the other end Marcus Hall, who had done most of his job tonight with a whopping 17 points in the first 20 minutes, was being given more and more minutes of rest on the bench. But his teammates were doing well without him too and had a 0-8 run to lead 39-52. Then recently signed power forward Arnas Kazlauskas hit two treys in consecutive possessions of Levski and they led 48-60 (50-62 after the third period).

The last quarter was equally bad for the hosts, who were just looking forward to the game`s end. The only reason for them not losing with a much bigger margin was the strong performance in the paint by Demetrius Williams, despite his lens problem earlier. The Bulgarian team managed to score 3 times from downtown in the opening 3 minutes of the last quarter and had their biggest lead - 55-73. They didn`t need to fire on all cylinders to keep that advantage until the end. The home team`s misery was complete, when they had two airball shots in the closing minutes and the game ended at 69-86.

Marcus Hall, despite having come off the bench for the first time in a Eurohold Balkan League game and playing less then 12 minutes after half-time, was still the best scorer for his team with 23 points. Arnas Kazlauskas added 14 points as he scored 4 three-pointers and grabbed 6 rebounds. Stefan Georgiev continued with his constant play and managed 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Newly signed guard Charles Jones scored only 3 points but dished 9 assists and also had 5 boards.

American Demetrius Williams had his first double double in the last game of Dinamo in the tournament - 19 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Reaves added 14 points and 5 assists. Kiril Pavlovski finished with 11 points (10 in the first half) and 8 boards.


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