| Air Avellino registered its second consecutive win in Group A by downing Le Mans 78-73 at home on Thursday night. Avellino won its second consecutive game to improve to 2-2 in the Group A standings, joining Unicaja and Maccabi Electra in a three-way tie for third place. Meanwhile, Le Mans went down to 0-4 and needs to start winning right away to keep its Top 16 options alive. Eric Williams led the winners with 16 points on 5-for-6 two-pointers and 8 rebounds. Chris Warren added 13 points, Tamar Slay added 11 - all in the second half - while Daniele Cinciarini got 10 for Avellino. Dewarick Spencer led Le Mans with 26 points. Joao Batista added 12 while Brian Chase got 10 for the guests, that led 18-19 after 10 minutes. Cinciarini and Drake Diener stepped up late in the first half to give Avellino a 40-35 edge at the break. Slay had 9 points in the third quarter to keep the hosts ahead, 63-57, after 30 minutes. Travis Best became Avellino's go-to guy to lead the hosts to a well-deserved win, as Le Mans only rallied once the outcome was clear.
Spencer got Le Mans going with consecutive baskets for a 0-4 lead. Best fed Williams for a power layup but Alain Koffi took over with a turnaround jumper that kept the guests ahead, 2-6. Williams scored again but Batista answered with a jumper that touched the rim, went up and fell down. Avellino kept running its offense through Williams, who followed Marko Tusek's triple with a dunk for a 10-10 tie. Spencer stayed unstoppable with another layup that Warren matched with a fast break basket - and the free throw that came with it for a 14-12 edge. Le Mans kept attacking the basket and Maleye Ndoye sank free throws, but Warren simply took over with an outstanding dunk in traffic. Badiane made a free throw that David Bluthenthal followed with a put-back layup to put the guests back ahead, 16-17. Another big basket by Warren and free throws by Antoine Diot fixed the score at 18-19 after 10 minutes.
Nikola Radulovic took over with a three-point play right at the start of the second quarter but Chase answered from downtown for a 21-22 Le Mans edge. Radulovic scored again while Cinciarini sank a triple to provide another lead change, 26-22. Spencer sank a catch-and-shoot three-pointer off a timeout but free throws by Warren kept Avellino ahead, 28-25. Batista found space for an easy layup that Cinciarini matched with a huge jumper. Batista insisted with an incredible turnaround jumper but Tusek answered with a follow-up layup. Avellino had improved its defense, while Diener scored for a 34-29 edge. Cinciarini made free throws but Badiane nailed a turnaround jumper for a 36-31 Le Mans deficit. Diener and Ndoye traded free throws while Chase sank a five-meter jumper to get Le Mans within 38-35. Best scored in penetration to restore a 40-35 Avellino edge at halftime.
Koffi dunked it immediately after the break that Slay matched with a big basket. Batista stayed on fire with another layup but Slay answered with an outstanding driving basket. Chase sank free throws while Spencer buried a jumper but a red hot Slay answered from downtown for a 49-43 Avellino lead. Spencer and Bluthenthal took over with consecutive triples to tie it at 49-49, in an outstanding run-and-gun show. Diener joined the three-point shootout while Koffi beat the shot clock buzzer with a layup, making Avellino call timeout at 52-51. The hosts improved their defense while Warren and Williams made free throws. Batista scored around the basket but Slay - who else? - answered with a layup. Ndoye sank a four-meter shot but Williams kept fighting in the paint - but missing free throws, too. Chase rescued its team with a layup that Cinciarini bettered with a three-point play for a 63-57 Avellino edge after 30 minutes.
Williams got the crowd involved with a dunk early in the fourth quarter while Slay also slammed it for a steal to make it a double-digit game, 67-57. Chase tried to ignit the guests' comeback with a three-pointer while Spencer added free throws for a 67-62 Le Mans deficit. Best struck from downtown off a screen and soon added a four-meter jumper to restore a 72-62 Avellino margin. Bluthenthal sank a wide open triple but Avellino called timeout to readjust its defense. Le Mans stopped finding easy shots while Best scored again for a 74-65 Avellino lead with 4 minutes remaining. Time was running out for Le Mans and the guests kept struggling to find the way to the basket. Best fed Williams for an easy basket and Warren added a put-back layup that sealed the outcome, 78-65, with 2 minutes to go, allowing all Avellino fans to celebrate yet another Euroleague win!
Thursday, November 13, 2008