ASVEL remains perfect in Top 16
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne led from start to finish in a rout of visiting Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt 75-52 to come on the verge of qualifying for the EuroCup Quarterfinals on Tuesday night. This was the fifth consecutive win for ASVEL, which improved to 4-0 in Group F and needs just one more win – or one more loss by ratiopharm Ulm – to secure its quarterfinals ticket. ASVEL allowed single-digit points in both the first and second quarters, led 38-16 at halftime and cruised after the break. A.J. Slaughter paced ASVEL with 15 points, Theo Maledon finished with 12, Amine Noua collected 11 points and 7 rebounds while Alpha Kaba pulled down 10 rebounds. Jason Clark had 13 points for the Skyliners, which dropped to 0-4.
Mantas Kalnietis opened ASVEL's account with a triple, but baskets were few and far between from the start. Clark and Tyler Larson got Skyliners going, but only briefly. ASVEL allowed only one field goal in the last 7 minutes of the first quarter, while Miro Bilan inside and Slaughter from the outside helped the hosts to a 13-7 edge after 10 minutes. ASVEL kept the visitors scoreless for more than 3 and a half minutes in the second with David Lighty hitting a triple and DeMarcus Nelson taking it twice to the hoop to open a 24-7 margin. Clark snapped an 11-0 run, but jumpers from Lighty and Slaughter made it 28-10 with 5 minutes left in the half. Clark ended the visitors' draught, but Slaughter's triple and close-range baskets from Noua and Bilan made it 38-16 at halftime. The Skyliners failed to score 10 points in each of first two quarters, but had a lot more energy after the break and needed just over 3 minutes to score 10 points behind Jonas Wohlfarth-Botermann, whose put-back cut the deficit to 44-28. However, triples from Kalnietis and Slaughter restored a 20-point margin before Maledon had a runner and a dish for a dunk by Kaba, who made it 58-33 after three quarters. In the fourth, Maledon's steal and a fastbreak dunk set a 62-33 score after 2 minutes and Clark hit a triple, Skyliners' first of the night, with 5:12 left in the game. The visitors hit a few more from downtown, but it was all too little too late.
Quarterfinals in sight
ASVEL can qualify for the quarterfinals already on Wednesday if Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar defeats Ulm on the former's home floor. That outcome would qualify both ASVEL and Lokomotiv. ASVEL has not been in the quarterfinals since its competition debut in the 2005-06 season.
ASVEL allowed just 16 points in the first half, which is tied for the fourth-fewest points scored ever in the first half of a game in the competition and the fewest in more than 14 years. Frankfurt shot 0-for-9 from three-point land and had its first assist after 14 minutes and 35 seconds of the contest. The 52 points are tied for the second-fewest ASVEL has allowed in a EuroCup game.
This is ASVEL's second five-game winning streak of the season. The first one started in Round 2 of the regular season.
Both teams will be on their respective home floors next week in Round 5 on Wednesday. Skyliners will host fellow German side Ulm and ASVEL welcomes Lokomotiv.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019