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Team effort lifts Spartak Pleven over Polski Cukier Start Lublin




Spartak Pleven started 2024 with a bang and defeated a 2023 ENBL bronze medalist Polski Cukier Start Lublin, 101-95, on Tuesday, January 9, at the Balkanstroy hall in northern Bulgaria.


Players of the game

Bryant Thomas led the winners with 24 points on 8/14 shooting from the field.


Carson Newman University big man made three three-pointers and grabbed six rebounds.


Rodney Purvis scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half.


A former UConn guard joined Thomas and made three shots from the deep.


Tsvetomir Chernokozhev had 13 points, including nine points in the second half.


Nikolay Stoyanov, Konstantin Toshkov and Ivko Ivkov also scored in double figures!


Liam O`Reilly led Start Lublin with 20 points, despite poor shooting from the three point line.


Tomislav Gabrič had 17 points on 5/12 shooting from the deep.


Barret Benson (Southern Illinois University 2020) posted 11 points and 10 rebounds.



Key stats

Teams played fast paced, high scoring basketball in the first half.


The first 20 minutes ended in a 55-55 tie.


Spartak Pleven shot 52% from the field, 18/34.


Polski Cukier Start Lublin shot 51% from the field, 18/35.


Tomislav Gabrič made back-to-back three pointers to start the second half, 55-61.


Spartak Pleven countered this and the next Start offensive to trail only by two points before the last 10 minutes, 78-80.


A 16-4 run in the fourth quarter gave a 94-84 lead for the home team.


Six Spartak players scored in double figures.



Game notes

Spartak Pleven improved to 1-4, while Start Lublin dropped to 1-3.


Lyubomir Minchev posted his first win in a European competition.


Spartak has a 6-3 record on the home floor, including 1-2 in the ENBL.


Bulgarian team will play the next two games on the road – at Svendborg and Zwolle.



ENBL access: follow the game on YouTube live stream




Standings, as of January 9, 2024 (CET 20:00)

Group A

Uniclub Casino Juventus 4-0 (+59)

Tartu Ülikool Maks&Moorits 4-1 (+57)

Bakken Bears Aarhus 3-0 (+64)

Bristol Flyers 3-2 (+43)

Landstede Hammers Zwolle 1-2 (-16)

Polski Cukier Start Lublin 1-3 (-18)

Spartak Pleven 1-4 (-50)

Svendborg Rabbits 0-5 (-139)



Group B

CSO Voluntari 4-1 (+53)

Royal Liège Basket 4-1 (+68)

Zastal Zielona Gora 3-1 (+21)

Šiauliai 3-1 (+11)

Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles 2-2 (+12)

Keila Coolbet 2-2 (-7)

Basket Brno 1-5 (-58)

Valmiera Glass ViA 0-6 (-100)


Tie-breaker 1: Zielona Gora vs Šiauliai 1-0, +26.

Tie-breaker 2: Šiauliai vs Newcastle 1-0, +2.

Tie-breaker 3: Šiauliai vs Voluntari 1-0, +8.

Tie-breaker 4: Liège vs Zielona Gora 1-0, +23.

Tie-breaker 5: Voluntari vs Liège 1-0, +21.

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