Akasvayu Girona made sure of qualifying for the elimination rounds in its first ULEB Cup season by outlasting host Hanzevast Capitals 91-105 on the road in the Netherlands on Tuesday. Girona raised its record to 6-2, but continues to share first place with Galatasaray and Hemofarm. Hanzevast, meanwhile, fell to 1-7 and can no longer advance beyond the regular season. Akasvayu won inside by making 68% of its two-point shots (26 for 38) and dominating the rebounds. Jackson Vroman paced the winners with 35 points on incredible 14-for-18 two-point shooting and pulled 10 rebounds. Roman Montañez added 16 points and Arriel McDonald hit 4 three-pointers among his 14. Ageless big man Darryl Middleton scored 10 of his 15 points to put the game away in the final quarter, while Fernando San Emeterio finished with 10 for the winners. Had he shot more, guard Victor Sada might have had a triple-double, because he had 10 rebounds and 10 assists to go with 5 points. Hanzevast got 29 points from Kevin Melson, 17 from Alton Mason and 14 from Pavel Englicky.
Girona started strong, with triples by San Emeterio and Montañez, to lead 3-8. Hanzevast followed Englicky and Mason to within 8-10, but Girona scored 11 of the next 13 points, with Vroman dominating inside, to lead 10-21. By the time the first quarter ended on an McDonald three-pointer, the difference was 17-30 in favor of the guests. Hanzevast struck back quickly in the second quarter, using triples by Englicky and Rogier Jansen to pull within 27-33. McDonald was ready with 2 more three-point bombs to re-open a double-digit lead, 29-40, and his fourth of the game put Girona in complete control of a 38-53 scoreboard at halftime. Hanzevast fired away after the break, but while scoring failed to stop Girona's attack, so could cut the difference to no fewer than 10 points, 54-64, on a basket by Kevin Melson. Montañez answered with his third perfect triple in as many tries as Girona finished up the third quarter ahead by 60-74. Middleton's 4 points to start the final quarter left a 60-78 Girona advantage. Kitwana Rhymer and Englicky cut the difference to 68-80, but Middleton was there to end Girona's drought with a couple baskets that made it too wide a margin for Hanzevast to overcome while trading baskets, even on its own court. The shots kept falling the rest of the way for Vroman and Melson, but the outcome was never in danger of falling from Girona's hands.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008