Though it happened a day late, Charleroi celebrated its entry into the ULEB Cup with a solid 98-90 home win Wednesday at the brand new Spiroudome over dangerous Cholet of France. Steady veterans led the way for Charleroi, as Ron Ellis put up 18 points and Jacques Stas 16. Jim Potter had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. K'Zell Wesson collected 16 points and 10 10 rebounds while Ricard Barry scored 13 for Cholet, a young but very well balanced team that played a tough game but missed some know how near the end. Indeed, Cholet led most of the game, by double digits on either side of halftime, but an experienced Charleroi kept finding the resources to stay in touch and finally take the lead for good. The first game for each team leaves Charleroi at 1-0 in Group C and Cholet at 0-1.
Charleroi started the game a little too relaxed on defense, as Wesson, Barry and ivan Krasic entered the lane easily for a 4-9 Chalon lead after 3 minutes. The first reaction came from Andre Riddick, who made two blocks, giving an impulse to his team. Charleroi suddenly found good rythmn on offense. Cholet remained very precise as well as the first quarter turned out to be mainly an offensive one which the home team ended up winning 26-24. It was then the entry of Stas allowed Charleroi to start fastbreaking. Cholet had more and more difficulty finding open shots, and as a result, Charleroi keep ascending on the scoreboard until a 51-42 halftime lead.
Cholet tried a zone defense which revealed to be very effective, as was the entry of Mickael Gelabale, who scored 6 points to bring back Cholet to within 1 point at 68-67. That was the moment chosen by Stas and Marcus Faison, scoreless during the first half, to relaunch Charleroi to a 74-68 at the end of the third quarter. The final 10 minutes were marked by a lot of fouls and by one man, Potter, who was dominating new Cholet arrival Jim Bilba under the rims. Cholet kept menacing till the end, but Charleroi never allowed it to come back under 4 points.
Wednesday, October 16, 2002