It was a matter of pride, not advancement, in Group A on Wednesday as Idea Slask Wroclaw of Poland beat visiting Alba Berlin of Germany 71-66 to pick up its first win since starting the season 2-0. Although neither team has Top 16 options left, Slask (3-9) now joins a sixth-place tie with Alba (3-9), losers now of five straight Euroleague games. The game was tight through two quarters, but Slask was able to take a seven-point lead into the lockerrooms, 43-36. Both teams continued to struggle offensively in the second half though. Slask only managed to score 15 points in the third quarter, Alba just 11 as the home team defense always gave worst than it got. Slask's defense held Alba ace Wendell Alexis to just 9 points, in art due to foul trouble. Forward Michael Wright had a game-high 20 points for Slask and led an overwhelming 30-17 rebounding advantage for the home team. Wright had 14 rebounds himself, just three fewer than the entire Alba team. He was followed in the scoring column by guards Michael Hawkins with 17 (plus 8 assists) and Dainius Adomaitis with 16. Berlin was led by big men Dejan Koturovic (13 points) and Teoman Ozturk (11), and guard Derrick Phelps (11). Berlin was led by big men Dejan Koturovic (13 points) and Teoman Ozturk (11), and guard Derrick Phelps (11).
The game was dominated by defense, particularly in the second half. The first quarter was very equal, there were four ties and nine lead changes. Slask started the game with newcomer, Piotr Szybilski, and their other new acquisition, Aleksander Milosserdow entered in the 7th minute. But the Polish champions were missing their captain Maciej Zielinski, who got injured during the last practice before the game.
Alba was losing the inside game where they had problems stopping Wright and Szybilski. Additionally in the 7th minute, Wendell Alexis committed his third foul and was replaced by Teoman Ozturk. Alba's last lead came in the 8th minute when Phelps answered Hawkins' three-pointer with an outside shot. The lead did not last long as just seconds later it was one of Idea's Americans who hit another bomb from downtown.
At the start of the second quarter the show of three-pointers continued. Slask made three but Alba answered with only one. Slask took its biggest lead up to that point, 30-24, a lead they hold onto till the end; although Oztruk was able to cut it to just one, scoring five consecutive points (including of course a three-pointer). Slask controlled the game particularly in thanks to Wright's inside points and Hawkins' leadership. The silent hero of the game was Andrzej Adamek who scored just two points but dished out 5 assists. Alba struggled with its transition game and missed some chances for easy points. Koturovic played really great on defense (5 blocked shots, 8 rebounds) but was only scoring from the line.
The third quarter began with the points by Adomaitis and Wright. Alba couldn't score for almost four minutes, but they kept Slask within reach by allowing them just one basket in over 5 minutes. The German champions closed the gap to just five at 45-50, but Slask bounced back, and did so from outside. Adomatis hit a three-pointer followed by another one by Hawkins. To start the fourth quarter Slask scored six consecutive points and the game seemed to be over. Idea took its biggest lead of the night at 64-47, but Alba did not give up. Led by a couple of field goals and a three-pointer by Henrik Rodl and Jorg Lutzke, Alba cut the lead to just 61-67 in the 38th minute. Slask's players commited some stupid turnovers and it appeared that they momentarily lost control of the game. Fortunately for Slask, Alba had some turnovers of their own and it turn handed back control of the game. The last minute was controlled by the home team and Slask won for the first time against Alba in an official game.
Wednesday, January 30, 2002