SLUC Nancy recorded its first Euroleague win on Wednesday by beating Zalgiris Kaunas 69-64 behind a great second half from Lamayne Wilson. The hosts finished the third quarter with 13 unanswered points to take at 16-point lead and then held strong when Zalgiris rallied late. Wilson, who sat down after less than four minutes in the first period with three fouls, came back and sparked Nancy in the second half, when he scored all of his 17 points. Nancy now improves to 1-3 in Group B with a trip to Montepaschi looming next week. Meanwhile Zalgiris remains winless and will return home to host Regal FC Barcelona next week. Ricardo Greer added 17 points and 7 rebounds and his brother Jeff Greer posted 11 points for Nancy. Victor Samnick was also a key part of the win with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Dainius Salenga led Zalgiris with 15 points and 6 assists, while Jonas Maciulis and Paulius Jankunas added 13 points apiece. Loren Woods was good for 9 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in just 20 minutes.
Zalgiris won the opening tip and promptly scored on a Jankunas triple. Ricardo Greer banked one in at the other end to tie it at 3-3. The teams traded baskets in a slow-paced start, but more noteworthy for the hosts was having forward Wilson sit down with 3 fouls in less than three minutes. Rod Benson made a pair from the line to give the hosts a modest 12-9 lead midway through the period as the Cougars started a run. Jeff Greer fed Samnick as Nancy wet up 5 and then Zygimantas Janavicius committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Ricardo Greer. John Cox followed with a basket as Nancy went ahead 17-9. Salenga answered for Zalgirs with a three, but Jeff Greer converted a three-point play on the offensive glass for the hosts. A Mantas Kalnietis fast break slam and another Salenga three cut the gap to 3, however Ricardo Greer scored to give Nancy a 22-17 lead after 10 minutes.
Zalgiris cut the deficit as the second period started, first with a Ratko Varda slam and later with Salenga free throws. A tip-in by Amadou Aboubakar Zaki and 2 Ricardo Greer free throws kept Nancy ahead. Woods scored in the paint to get Zalgiris within 2 only for Ricardo Greer and Steed Tchicamboud to stretch the lead to 31-25. Woods fed Jankunas in a nice give-and-go. And Maciulis connected on a triple that made it 32-30. A physical end of the half saw numerous fouls and trips to the line. At one point Tchicamboud made 2 to put the hosts up 5 and then Cox added a floater to make to 38-32. Woods corrected a Rolandas Alijevas miss in the final seconds to make it 38-34 at the half.
Jankunas and Woods scored early in the third quarter as Zalgiris tied the game. Wilson came off the bench to drill a big three and Samnick added a basket to put the home team up 5. Woods threw down a two-handed slam, but Wilson scored in transition to keep the lead. Ricardo Greer and Wilson pushed the advantage to 50-42 and then a Ricardo Greer basket followed by a Samnick tip-in put the hosts up 12. A Wilson slam in transition ignited the fans and then Jeff Greer added 2 from the line as Nancy finished the period on a 13-0 run to take a 58-42 lead.
Salenga’s third three of the night at the start of the fourth quarter gave Zalgiris hope, but when the team struggled to follow with points on its ensuing possessions, that hope faded. Wilson became Nancy’s main offensive reference and didn’t disappoint. However turnovers led to a pair of east scores for Salenga and Kalnietis as Zalgiris got within 62-51 and Nancy head coach Jean Luc Monschau called timeout. Zalgiris raised its intensity and a Kalnietis steal and layup brought the visitors within 9. Jankunas trimmed the deficit even more, but Cox and Samnick came through with a pair of big baskets. Maciulis banked in a three and then fed Tadas Klimavicius to make it 66-62 with less than two minutes to play, silencing the local fans as Nancy used another timeout. Wilson completed a three-point play to keep Nancy in charge. Zalgiris didn’t quit and Jankunas scored, but time was running out as started milking the clock and the hosts held on for a 69-64 win.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008