BRATISLAVA, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Inter Bratislava edged out Prievidza 83-67 to continue to reign supreme in the Slovak Basketball League.
Inter Bratislava has 18 victories and only 2 defeats so far on the season.
The title of "upset of the 22nd round" goes to Handlova, the seventh-ranked team from the traditional Slovak mining town triumphing on the court of the second-placed Lucenec 87-80. The Patriots from Levice succeeded in snapping Zilina's series of four consecutive victories.
Only Handlova and Lucenec managed to defeat the last season's champions Inter Bratislava in the 2019-20 season of Slovakia's premier basketball league and these statistics remain true after the latest round.
Although the visitors were down by one at halftime, the squad of Inter's coach Aramis Naglic cranked up the heat in the third period, dominating it 30-8. This lead proved more than sufficient to bring home the 18th victory of the season and beat Prievidza for the twentieth time in a row.
Bratislava's Richard Korner led the scoring with 21 points but his teammate the 21-year-old point guard Mario Ihring was only 2 assists away from earning a prestigious triple-double, scoring 19 points, getting 10 rebounds and 8 assists.
Handlova managed to sack Lucenec's stronghold, becoming only the second team this season to triumph on the court of the second-best team of the league. The visitors were leading almost the entire game but almost fell behind during crunch time.
Thanks to a concentrated team effort and 14 three-pointers, Handlova managed to put an end to its bad start into the new year and triumphed once again after two consecutive defeats.
Lucenec's American forward Melsahn Basabe led the scoreboard with 25 points but failed to bring his team to victory.
Third-ranked Levice put an end to its losing streak in the previous round and is celebrating another victory after this, putting an end to Zilina's series of four consecutive triumphs.
The middle section of SBL's rankings from second to seventh place is tightly packed and every victory is crucial. The Patriots were leading by a comfortable 22 points in the third period but the visitors managed to close the gap with a remarkable run, turning the game into an unexpected thriller. The home team pulled itself together eventually and denied Zilina the turnaround.
In a derby match of two teams from the east of the country, sixth-ranked Svit stretched Spisska Nova Ves' losing streak to six after an 81-73 victory.
The visitors being one of the two worst teams of the league together with Komarno, missed the start of the game and did their best to make up for it in the following periods but Svit improved on its defense and converted on multiple hard shots to secure the ninth victory of the season that keeps it in the hunt for a better rankings position.
Foul-trouble and insufficient rebounding on the visitors' end of the court proved to be the deciding factor.