Azovmash Mariuol started its season on the right foot by outlasting Le Mans 79-76 in a thrilling finale in Group F. The game was perfectly balanced in the first half, which finished 43-43. The hosts made a 12-0 run back from the lockers to get a 64-55 margin and then never looked back despite Le Mans coming very close in a thrilling finish. Daniel Ewing led the way for Azovmash with 21 points, Oleksiy Pecherov added 20, Ricky Minard chipped in 13 and Joe Crispin 11. Marcellus Sommerville contributed 16 for Le Mans, Taylor Rochestie had 15 and Alex Acker and JP Batista 12 apiece.
A three-pointer from Sommerville capped a 0-7 Le Mans run to open the game. Pecherov and Ewing answered to get to 4-7, but a huge dunk by Dy Boungou-Colo made it 4-12. The guests with another triple from Rochestie climbed to 6-15. A Ewing slam completed an Azovmash charge and tied the score at 15-15, and after William Coleman put the visitors in front, Oleksandr Kolchenko from beyond the arc gave the first advantage, 18-17, to Azovmash. Pecehrov and Sommerville exchanged triples to fix the final 21-22 for Le Mans at the end of the first quarter. Kevin Mendy extended the difference to 23-28 by grabbing an offensive board and scoring early in the second. Crispin in the open court climbed within 29-30 then Ewing from downtown tied it at 32-32 to excite the crowd. JP Batista scored in the paint, but Pecherov from long distance made it 35-34. The lead changed hands four times with Minard scoring free throws for 41-38, Sommerville tying it again from downtown, and to finish 43-43 at halftime, Denis Ivanov and Alex Acker posted both mid-range jumpers.
Both sides were on fire early in the third quarter and exchanged three-pointers. Ewing gave a 52-51 advantage to the hosts, Acker made it 52-53 for the guests, and Rochestie finished a break to be on 52-55 midway through the quarter. Crispin and Pecherov posted 5 points each to highlight a 12-0 Azovmash run for a comfortable 64-55 lead. A layup by Ewing and 2 free throws scored by Igor Zaytsev gave a double digit margin to the home team after 30 minutes. Le Mans opened the last quarter with a huge dunk by Travon Bryant that charged his teammates, who went on fire. Coleman scored too and a long distance shot by Max Kouguere took Le Mans within 70-66 with less than six minutes left. Minard assisted Hasan Rzivic for a dunk to get up 74-68, then Batista scored 4 in a row to come within 2. Ewing and Rochestie scored to make it 76-74 with 26 seconds left and set up a thrilling finale. Ewing scored 2 of his 4 free throw and Rochestie all his 2 to get to 78-76. Minard with 7 seconds left scored another for 79-76, before Rchestie missed the potential game-tying triple and Azovmash celebrated the first success of its Eurocup season.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011