Basketball: Pearson is Kings' late ace

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The Independent Online
GUILDFORD KINGS had Europe on their minds on Saturday night when they took a last-second basket from the American, Tracy Pearson, to force overtime and clinch a 97-95 victory against Derby Bucks at the Spectrum Arena in the Budweiser League, writes Duncan Hooper.

Earlier in the day in Munich, their group was drawn in the semi-final round of the European Clubs' Championship and the list of their opponents reads like a roll call of the continent's richest and most successful clubs.

The Kings have been drawn against Limoges, the defending champions, from France, and Real Madrid, the former champions, from Spain.

The group also includes last season's runners-up, Treviso, of Italy, and the former runners-up, FC Barcelona, from Spain.

Group A is completed by Olympiakos, of Greece, Leverkusen, of Germany, and Racing Mechelen, the Belgian champions, who are Guildford's first opponents in a schedule of 14 games at the Spectrum starting on 28 October.

Derby, beaten only once before Saturday, took advantage of the absence of the salary- capped Alton Byrd to keep Guildford away from their basket for the first three minutes of the last quarter and opened up an 80-76 advantage.

After forcing overtime at 90-90, Pearson then helped himself to all seven of Guildford's points in the extra period.