Basketball: Towers toppled by Honved

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The Independent Online
London Towers 67 Honved Budapest 73

After their stunning victory over Group favourites Milan two weeks ago, Towers European Cup campaign turned full circle in bizarre fashion last night with an equally stunning defeat at Wembley against the bottom team in Group E.

The Hungarians, superbly marshalled by their captain, Zoltan Boros, and the American Ronnie McMahan, held on for their first win despite a 17- 5 London surge over the final five minutes. It was deep a hole for London to escape from after they trailed 58-38 with nine minutes to play and with their star American, James Hamilton, on the bench injured.

Neville Austin, who missed last week's defeat in Belgrade and the loss against Birmingham in the league on Saturday, returned to the starters and scored nine of London's opening points as they led 15-12.

Nearly seven minutes elapsed, painfully slowly for Towers fans, between Danny Lewis levelling the scores on 21-21 and Austin scoring the final basket of the half. By then Honved had outscored London 16-5 to take a 37-26 interval lead.

Martin Gottfried, so impressive recently but totally out of sync in the first half, raised London's hopes with a quick four points. But McMahan and the 6ft 10in shooting forward, Erno Sitku, rapidly restored Honved's composure.

LEADING SCORERS: London Austin 17, Lewis 16, Deppisch 12, Gottfried 12. Honved McMahan 18, Sitku 16, Boros 14, Dunkin 13.

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