Idea Slask Wroclaw of Poland has put its quick stamp on Group A by winning easily on the road at Charleroi on Wednesday with a defense that was nothing short of suffocating. The final score: 53-71. As the last qualifier, Charleroi it needed great game to take confidence within the so-called strongest group of the Euroleague. It was totally the contrary. Charleroi was overshadowed since the beginning of the game by a very well-balanced and organized Slask Wroclaw. Even when Charleroi seemed to be able to come back, starting the second half, the guy who was the MVP of the night beat back the home team. Andrei Fetissov began his rebirth with Wroclaw in stylish fashion, picking up 15 points and 6 reobunds in a game short on both stats.
Charleroi started the game very nervously and was dominated quickly inside. Gintaris Einikis launched Wroclaw to its first serious lead at 7-18. Actually, Charleroi couldn't make it to the basket, and even when Louis Rowe succeeded, his shot was blocked. The first inside points for Charleroi were scored by John Jerome after more than 7 minutes. Wroclaw's defense was so impressive and its offense so precise that things looked nearly decided after the first quarter: 13-28.
Jacques Stas gave hope back to Charleroi by scoring a three-pointer and assisting Jerome (18-28) but Wroclaw's defense was still extraodinary anticipating the Charleroi's screens. We could nevertheless feel Charleroi was now better balancing the game. Wroclaw, which played without guard Michael Hawkins, had to commit fouls as the Belgians alternated inside and outside better, opening some shots. But Charleroi missed them and, as such, Slask was able to maintain its lead at 21-35 after 16 minutes. Wroclaw wasn't scoring so easily anymore, and when Rowe finally got in the scoring column, the margin was down to 25-35, but Wroclaw bumped it back up to 27-41 by the half.
Charleroi tried to keep up the defensive effort and found Roger Huggins open for some shots to start the second half, but for every solution, Wroclaw had an answer, Fetissov of course, who scored twice on three-pointers. Einikis seemed to be jealous as he then scored 9 points during the third quarter. Charleroi was nowhere, as reflected the individual actions of Rowe, who missed everything he tried. Wroclaw led 38-60 at the end of the third quarter and it was time for Charleroi to start thinking about the next game.
Wednesday, October 10, 2001