A back-and-forth game of big leads that disappeared quickly ended with Prokom Trefl Sopot hanging onto a 69-67 victory in its Group A home opener against Le Mans in Poland on Thursday. Prokom withstood a late 0-9 run, the last of several by Le Mans, to improve to 1-1 in the group. Le Mans is 1-1 also. Christian Dalmau led the winners with 16 points, but it was largely its first-half defense, which limited Le Mans to 17 points, that won it for Prokom. Adam Wojcik added 12 points and Jasmin Hukic 11, both of them off the bench, for Prokom. Eric Campbell was unstoppable for Le Mans, with 27 points and 8 rebounds. Kenny Gregory followed him with 14 points and Sandro Nicevic with 12.
Prokom suprised everyone with a three-guard starting lineup, with Dalmau making the first basket of new Euroleague season in Oliwia Gym. Campbell responded with a triple, which would prove to be the visitors' only basket from beyond the arc in the half. Prokom used a 6-0 run for a 8-4 lead, but Le Mans came back. Skelin and Campbell both scored from inside for the last tie of the first half, 10-10. That's when former Le Mans center Besok started to shine for Prokom, scoring 4 consecutive points even though he took his second foul. But it didn't hurt Prokom much, because the hosts played high-level defense and had the boards under control. Dalmau closed the quarter with a three-pointer as the scoreboard showed a 17-10 margin.
To start the second quarter, Wojcik extended the run and Prokom's lead to a double digits with a triple of his own. When Dalmau followed it with a lay-up, Le Mans took a timeout. That seemed to work for the guests, who forced the game inside and scored 6 consecutive points. Campbell, Nicevic and Adjiwanou closed the gap to 22-16 in the 15th minute. Le Mans also put more pressure on Prokom's guards, but the hosts controlled the tempo anyway. Wojcik scored 4 points in a row and Prokom was ahead by 10 again. Hukic arrived with huge help from the bench, making a bomb from a downtown that extended the lead to 30-16 in the 17th minute. Le Mans was struggling on offense and points came really hard for the visitors. Gregory finally snapped the slide with a free throw, but Prokom continued scoring. Rashid Atkins and Dalmau used screens for jumpers as the hosts doubled Le Mans on the scoreboard, 34-17, at the half.
Besok extened Prokom's egde to open the third quarter, but Le Mans hit the court with a strong desire to come back. Tyson Wheeler was much more active and got the guests going. He made a jumper and followed it with a layup before Campbell took over. The Le Mans forward scored the next 8 points, finding his rhythm on the perimeter. It was 36-29 following his second bomb from a downtown, but Atkins finally answered for Prokom and the hosts regined a double-digit advantage again, 40-29, on Besok's tip-in. The Prokom defense was not as tough as in the first half, however. Both teams traded baskets before Le Mans used another run to come back completely to the game. Campbell made another triple, Nicevic scored 4 points in a row, while Bogavac added his own bomb from a downtown. Finally, Filip Dylewicz answered for Prokom with a layup and the quarter ended with a scoreboard showing 46-43.
Nicevic opend the final period with points from the line to close the gap to 46-45. Dalmau and Gregory traded baskets, before the latter missed the chance to retake the lead for Le Mans with a pair of missed free throws. Prokom took advantage with a 10-0 run that included triples from Hukic and Donatas Slanina for a 58- 47 led. Neither of two Le Mans timeouts during the run helped the visitors as Prokom took control. With 4 minutes remaining it was 63-49 following Wojcik's three-pointer. However, Le Mans didn't give up as Campbell's 4 points and Gregory's triple made it a seven-point game, 63-56. Atkins dished out the ball for another triple, this time from Hukic, and it seemed that nothing was in Prokom's hands now. Gregory made his second triple of the quarter and followed it with another just 8 seconds from the finish, leaving a 68-64 scoreboard. And when Wojcik missed 2 attempts from the foul line, Campbell buried his fifth three-pointer of the night, cutting the difference to a single point, 68-67. Just four-tenths of a second remained, however, and when Dalmau made a free throw, it was enough for Prokom to escape victorious.