Big men win Nemeth's tactical battle

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The Independent Online

England secured their first win in Group B of the European Championship last night with a 75-72 victory over Portugal in Ponte Sor, thanks to a 10-minute scoring spree either side of half-time.

With England trailing 31-25, the coach, Laszlo Nemeth, decided to switch to his big men - and it worked. They led by six at the half-way stage after a scoring run of 13-1, which included a three-pointer on the buzzer by the captain, Peter Scantlebury, who was making his 100th appearance for his country.

The pressure continued after the break with an 11-2 burst for England to lead 49-34 with four minutes gone. But the Portuguese inched their way back and with just under three minutes left they reduced the deficit to six points. However, England's guard, Karl Brown, rallied with a three- point play to make sure of the vital win.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Semi-final round (Ponte Sor): Portugal 72 (Nuno 19, Machado 11, Silva 10, Plouden 10) England 75 (Bucknall 17, Brown 16, Huggins 15).