Lugano have defeated Fribourg Olympic by 20 points in the first match of Switzerland's first division basketball playoff semi-finals. The first team to win the best of five games will then go on to face either Olympique Lausanne or Riviera in the finals.This content was published on April 22, 2001 - 12:10
Lugano, who were heading for victory from the start, held a comfortable 24- point lead over Fribourg halfway through the game. Olympic lacked the confidence to pull back, and finally lost 96-76.
Fribourg have lost just three of their last 13 matches. All three ties were against Lugano, who are giving Fribourg coach Milutin Nikolic quite a headache.
Top scorers for Lugano on Saturday included Switzerland's best player, Harold Mrazek (16 points), and the American Jemeil Rich (21 points).
In Saturday's other semi-final playoff, Riviera defeated Olympique Lausanne 86-77. Herman Alston played a key role in Riviera's victory, scoring over 30 points.
Despite Lausanne's successful attempt to neutralize Bojan Tadic, Riviera, who were playing away, showed they had other powerful resources. These included Alston and Pavle Baresic, who scored 16 points.
In last year's championship semi-finals, Fribourg Olympic held out against Lugano until the fifth match. But after hiring new players, Lugano have proved almost invincible this season, losing only one match against Monthey.
Fribourg have endured several setbacks this season, including a difficult start at the beginning with three defeats in the first four games. The team have also had to adapt to a new coach, who replaced Ken Scalabroni.
swissinfo with agencies
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