An overtime thriller that was close for the whole 45 minutes ended with Chorale Roanne surviving for a 79-75 home win in overtime against ASK Riga in Group A on Tuesday in France. Neither team led by more than 7 points the entire game, but they certainly took turns on the scoreboard with a total of 14 lead changes and 15 ties. After the last of those ties, at 75-75 in OT, Roanne's leader all night, Aaron Harper, made the last basket, rebound and free throws to help the hosts escape with a well-deserved victory. Chris Monroe paced the winners with 20 points and 7 rebounds, while Harper added 19 and Mohamed Kone 12. Riga relied on veterans Corey Brewer, who poured in 27 points, and Bruno Sundov, who had 9 and 12 rebounds, although they combined for 13 turnovers and shot 9 for 39 between them.
A pair of three-pointers by Helmanis of Riga matched those by Marc-Antoine Pellin and Taj Gray as the teams were tied 6-6 after a couple minutes. When Brewer canned his first from downtown, Riga was ahead, but Harper got going with the game's first two-pointer, and soon Monroe was tying it again from downtown for Roanne, 13-13. Despite Brewer putting Riga ahead on a layup, the long-range shooting spree continued with Dia and Monroe raining triples for a 19-15 Roanne lead after 10 minutes. The perimeter defenses got stingier in the second quarter, but Monroe and Dia scored again to keep the hosts in charge at 24-19. Riga's defense locked down Roanne then, however, and a 2-7 run by the visitors saw Dairis Bertans tie it up, 26-26, on a triple. More stellar defense and Brewer's free throws gave Riga a 27-28 lead at the half.
The ties and lead changes started early after halftime as Harper put Roanne back in front, Brewer's triple was needed to tie 31-31, and Pellin answered with his own long-range shot. Kone and Bruno Sundov traded shots from the arc in the middle of the third quarter, as neither team could get the upper hand. It took Brewer's next three-pointer to change the leader board one more time and give everyone a break after 30 minutes with Riga holding a 54-55 advantage. The see-saw seemed to stop as Milutin Aleksic scored 2 layups and Sundov another to open the fourth quarter with Riga bounding in front 54-61, the single biggest lead of the game. With a Kone's 3 free throws and big triple to follow by newly-signed Curtis Sumpter, however, Roanne quickly rejoined the battle. Brewer and Andrius Mazutis kept Riga up 60-65 with 3 minutes left, but the visitors' scoring dried up as Monroe and Kone blasted yet more three-pointers down the stretch to tie 66-66 for Roanne and send the teams to overtime.
Sumpter got Roanne the lead back on the first play in OT, but Riga went to veterans Sundov and Brewer to go up 69-70. Harper turned around the scoreboard again with a layup, and when Dian and Monroe had the hosts looking good at 75-71, here came brewer with 4 points in a few seconds to tie 75-75 going into minute 45 of the game. Harper had the answer again for Roanne with a layup, then after misses by Brewer, rebounded and got to the line for free throws to ice a hard-earned victory for the hosts, 79-75.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008