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Czechs bounced by England

After inspiring England to a shock upset of Slovenia, Andy Betts of AEK Athens turned into an assasin on Wednesday night, firing 31 points to lead Laszlo Nemeth's squad to a 74-87 defeat of the Czech Republic in their third European Championship qualifying match before a 1200 crowd in Opava.

Ahead 22-25 after the first period, England extended their lead to six points at half-time. The Czechs held on But the best was yet to come, during the first eight minutes of the final period, England took command of the game, dominating the Czech team and powering to a 20-point lead with just two minutes remaining on
the clock.  The hosts fought back hard in the closing minutes and managed to pull back the deficit to 13 points. 

Another Greece-based player, Yorick Williams, added 16 points as England move to 2-1 in their group.

Pavel Becka led the Czechs with 20 points.

Elsewhere in the pool Russia handed Slovenia a 88-63 beating to remain unbeaten.

This win moves England up their Qualifying Group and all eyes turn to their next game at home to Russia on 23rd January - which is now one of the biggest games in recent history for Nemeth's men.  This game is
followed on the 26th Jan by England travelling to face Portugal.

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