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Bullets shot down in Euro opener

FIBA Champions Cup, Western Conference, Group A

Oliveirense (POR) 68 (22, 37, 48) (Muse 21, Natsvlishvili 19, Lasa Azpeitia 9)
Birmingham Bullets 63 (19, 39, 55) (Henlan 17, Jackson/Rolston 15)

Birmingham Bullets were narrowly defeated 68-63 away to Oliveirense of Portugal in their opening game in the Western Conference of FIBA’s Champions Cup on Tuesday night.

The first and second quarters proved to be fairly close, as Oliveirense outscored their British
compatriots 22-19 in the first quarter, only for Bullets to score 20 to Oliveirense’s 15 in the
second – Bullets led by two at half-time.

The scoring somewhat dried up in the third quarter, but Bullets’ still edged things to extend their lead to seven points heading into the fourth quarter with a 55-48 advantage.

In the final quarter, however, Bullets managed just ten points, as Oliveirense reversed their
deficit to run out with the win.

Summer signing Martin Henlan was the Bullets’ leading scoring – the veteran Englishman bagged 17 personal points and also contributed with 10 rebounds in a well rounded performance. New American signings Michael Jackson and Kyle Rolston were also in decent shooting form, bagging 15 points each.

Oliveirense’s scoring came predominantly from two sources, as American Muse bagged a game-high 21 points and Natsvlishvili added 19.

In the other games in Bullets’ group, Tenerife beat Fribourg 74-65 and Mons beat Dijon 79-78. Bullets face Mons next Tuesday.

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