Lukoil Academic climbed atop the Group H standings and got closer to reach the elimination rounds for the fourth time in 5 years by downing the Artland Dragons 76-91 in Quakenbrueck, Germany on Tuesday. Lukoil improved to 5-2 in Group H, good enough for at least a first-place tie at the end of this round. Lukoil, however, will be the exclusive leader in Group H if ASK Riga beats BC Kyiv tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Artland Dragons dropped to 4-3 but stay in the fight to make it to the next round. Murilo Da Rosa led the winners with 21 points on 9-for-11 two-pointers. Todor Stoykov added 16, Willie Deane posted a monster double-double of 15 points and 13 assists while Pero Antic scored 14 points for Lukoil. Terrance Thomas led the Dragons with 25 points on 6-for-7 three-pointers. Lamont McIntosh added 15 while Adam Chubb had 10 for the hosts, that led 24-22 after 10 minutes. Riste Stefanov and Deane fueled a 0-11 run that put Lukoil ahead for good, 26-33. Antic gave the guests their first double-digit lead, 29-40. McIntosh and Chubb managed to get the Dragons within 42-47 right after the break but Antic and Da Rosa stepped up to make Lukoil regain a 49-59 margin after 30 minutes. Stoykov had 8 points, including consecutive triples, in a game-breaking 0-13 run that boosted Lukoil's lead to 62-84, enough for the guests to cruise to a well-deserved win.
Da Rosa opened the game with a put-back basket but McIntosh had 5 points in a 7-0 run that gave the Dragons at 7-2 lead early in the game. It didn't last long, however, as Antic and Deane combined for all points in a 0-9 run that put Lukoil back ahead, 7-11. John Goldsberry fed McIntosh for an easy basket and stroke from downtown before Darius Hall gave Artland a 14-13 edge. Stoykov and Kostov stepped up to restore a 16-20 Lukoil edge. Thomas and Matt Freije buried respective triples while Chubb scored to give the Dragons a 24-22 edge after 10 minutes. Stefanov and Deane combined for all points in an 0-11 run that made Lukoil regain the lead, 26-33. The Dragons struggled to score now, while Da Rosa scored inside while Antic followed a triple with free throws to make it an 11-point game, 29-40. Da Rosa and Antic kept pacing Lukoil but free throws by McIntosh and Chubb brought the Dragons within 38-45 at halftime. Hall took over with consecutive baskets after the break to get Artland even closer at 42-47. Stoykov answered from downtown but a three-point play by Thomas kept the Dragons close at 45-50. An unstoppable Da Rosa stepped up with back-to-back baskets while Antic allowed Lukoil to restore a double-digit lead, 47-57. Freije and Thomas stroke from downtown but Lukoil did not panic and kept scoring fluently. O'Bannon scored for the guests and then followed Tencho Banev's three-point play with a final basket that kept the guests in charge, 49-59, after 30 minutes. Stoykov and Chubb traded free throws early in the fourth quarter, but the Dragons kept finding it hard to score. Meanwhile, Stoykov sank consecutive triples and soon added a basket in a game-breaking 0-13 run that sealed the outcome, 62-84, midway through the fourth quarter. Thomas stroke three times from beyond the arc and McIntosh added another one but it happened to be too little, too late for the Dragons, as Lukoil left the court as the Group H leader.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007