Efes beats ASVEL, breaks records
Anadolu Efes Istanbul consolidated first place by downing LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 101-74 at home on Friday. Efes grabbed its fifth consecutive victory and remains first with a 17-3 record – two wins ahead of everyone else. ASVEL dropped to 8-12 and is now on a four-game losing streak. Shane Larkin led the winners with 29 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Rodrigue Beaubois added 14 points, Sertac Sanli had 13 while James Anderson and Krunoslav Simon each got 10 for Efes. Amine Noua led ASVEL with 16 points. Livio Jean-Charles and Adriean Payne each had 12. Simon and an unstoppable Larkin allowed Efes to get a 35-22 lead after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Antoine Diot briefly brought ASVEL within single digits, 40-31, but Bugrahan Tuncer, Chris Singleton and Larkin each struck from downtown, helping Efes restore a 60-45 margin at halftime. Nothing changed after that, as Efes boosted its lead to 81-63 after 30 minutes and sealed the outcome way before the final buzzer.
Larkin got Efes going with a three-pointer and found Sanli for a layup for a 5-0 lead. Noua answered from downtown and Tonye Jekiri followed a layup with a jumper. Efes found a new go-to guy in Simon, who scored in penetration and sank back-to-back triples for a 13-9 lead. Simon fed Sanli behind-the-back for a slam, getting help from Singleton to boost the hosts' lead to 17-11. Theo Maledon stepped up with a driving layup and Rihards Lomasz struck from beyond the arc but an unstoppable Larkin answered with a layup-plus-foul and a couple of three-pointers, making ASVEL call timeout at 26-16. Payne tried to change things with an alley-oop slam but Tibor Pleiss and Beaubois combined for all the points in a 7-0 run that boosted their team's margin to 33-20. Payne and Dogus Balbay traded layups to fix the score at 35-22 after 10 minutes. Beaubois scored again early in the second quarter and Tuncer added a three-pointer that broke the game open, 40-22. Matthew Strazel and Diot buried a three-pointer in a 0-9 run highlighted by Payne's layup-plus-foul. Efes did not panic, as Tuncer and Singleton each struck from downtown and Larkin did even better with a four-point play to boost the hosts' lead to 52-34. Jean-Charles and Maledon rescued ASVEL, bring their team within 55-43, but Singleton took over with a three-point play and Anderson beat the buzzer with a tip-in that restored a 60-45 Efes lead at halftime. Larkin kept pacing Efes after the break, scoring 5 points and feeding Pleiss for a dunk for a 67-47 score. Anderson and Charles Galliou exchanged three-pointers, then Lomasz and Jean-Charles got ASVEL within 72-54. Anderson insisted from beyond the arc and added a driving layup, keeping Efes fully in charge, 77-59. Beaubois dunked and Sanli added a layup but Noua brought the guests a bit closer, 81-63, after 30 minutes. Beaubois buried back-to-back triples that sealed the outcome, 87-65, early in the fourth quarter. ASVEL did not give up but Efes kept playing a high rhythm and broke the three-digit barrier, 101-72, on a fast break layup by Larkin, rounding off his great game in style.
Shane Larkin was unstoppable from the very beginning of the game and thrilled the Efes faithful with another basketball exhibition. He finished the game with 29 points on 3-of-4 two-point shots, 6-of-9 from downtown and 5-of-5 free throws, adding 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 fouls drawn for a PIR of 45 that drew "MVP!" chants from the crowd in the final minute.
Antoine Diot buried a corner triple to bring ASVEL within single digits, 40-31, after a 0-9 run. It didn't last long, however, Bugrahan Tuncer, Chris Singleton and Larkin each nailed a three-pointer and all of a sudden, Efes had broken the game open, 52-34. Efes kept full control after that until the final buzzer.
Efes made the difference in the first half by simply shooting the lights out. The hosts hit 11-of-16 two-point shots, 68.8% and 10-of-16 three-pointers, 62.5%, nailing its 8 free throw attempts in an unpredecented 60-point first half in club history.
Did you notice?
Efes scored 35 points in the first quarter and 60 in the first half. Both are new club record for most points in a first quarter, and most points in a first half, respectively. Efes had set these two records in the same game, scoring 34 first-quarter points and 59 first-half points against Benetton Treviso on October 16, 2002.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Friday, January 24. Efes visits second-ranked Real Madrid at 21:00 CET. ASVEL travels to Greece to face Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at 20:30 CET.
Friday, January 17, 2020