2007-08Regular SeasonRound 1
November 05, 2007 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ARENA RIGA

On a night dedicated to basketball history, ASK Riga made some of its own by winning the season opener for 2007-08 and its own ULEB Cup debut 77-58 over visiting Lukoil Academic on Monday. A pre-game ceremony honored legends from both clubs who had faced off in the first two European club finals in 1958 and 1959. When it got down to action, however, ASK made sure to send a strong message on-court, overcoming early deficits to take control of the game for good after halftime. Dwayne Broyles led the winners with 16 points, while Sandis Valters and Aerick Sanders added 11 each. Lukoil got 22 points from Pero Antic, 14 from Riste Stefanov and 10 from Donta Smith. The victory puts ASK in good position in Group H, while Lukoil might have to overcome both the loss and the point difference in the future.

Lukoil opened the score with a four-chance offensive possession that allowed Antic to finallly bury a five-meter shot. ASK went scoreless for more than 2 minutes, missing 5 consecutive shots until Sandis Valters scored from downtown for a 3-2 edge. Tencho Banev the grabbed a loose ball and put it in for Lukoil, but the visitors couldn't find big guns Donta Smith or Stoykov in offense. Both teams struggled to find their rhythm until Antic dunked and Broyles answered with a reverse layup. Banev made free throws for a 6-7 Lukoil edge, but Broyles soon added a fastbreak basket and Sanders a driving layup for a 10-7 ASK edge. Antic stayed hot with a long jumper and then followed Smith's free throws with a turnaround jumper and a foul shot of his own, good for a 12-14 Lukoil edge after 10 minutes. Smith got a second-chance basket that kept Lukoil in charge at 12-18 early in the second quarter, but ASK was ready to respond. Sanders stepped up with back-to-back jumpers to ignite the hosts, while A.J. Bramlett capped a 6-0 ASK run with a tip-in that provided an 18-17 lead. Antic stayed unstoppable for Lukoil, burying another shot that Raitis Grafs matched for ASK with a put-back layup. Sandis Buskevics then helped the hosts with a midcourt steal, making Lukoil call timeout at 22-19. The guests kept struggling to score while Arnis Vecgavars of ASK found space for an uncontested layup. Stoykov buried his first triple but ASK kept its momentum as Grafs nailed a baseline jumper for a 26-22 edge. Lukoil opted to slow the tempo as Antic beat the shot clock from downtown before Riste Stefanov gave Lukoil a brief 26-28 edge. However, Vecvagars and Grafs hit back-to-back shots to help ASK regain the lead, 30-28, at halftime.

Broyles provided a highlight with a dunk right after the break that Donta Smith erased with a layup. Bramlett scored in the paint and Broyles added a three-pointer. An easy layup by Buskevics made Lukoil, which could not find its way to the basket, call timeout at 39-32. Nothing changed. Valters scored in penetration while Broyles nailed a three-pointer that gave ASK its first double-digit lead, 44-32. An unstoppable Broyles fired the crowd up with a reverse layup, forcing another Lukoil timeout at 48-32. It did not serve to keep Marko Antonijevic and Gatis Jahovics from hitting triples to cap a game-breaking 22-2 run that gave ASK a mammoth 56-34 lead. Antic tried to change things with a three-point play and Dimitar Phillipov added a mid-range jumper. Donta Smith shined with a dunk and Stefanov scored from downtown, but Valters beat the buzzer for a 61-44 ASK lead after 30 minutes. Murilo Da Rosa tried to ignite a Lukoil comeback with a power layup but Grafs bettered it with a three-point play. ASK kept dominating the game with defense, but finally Stefanov scored from downtown to give Lukoil some hope at 64-49. Antic kept scoring for Lukoil and Donta Smith added a put-back dunk, making ASK call timeout at 66-53 with 6 minutes to go. Jahovics had a layup-plus-free throw to keep his team out of trouble at 69-53 and ASK regained the intensity it needed to hold off the Lukoil comeback. ASK celebrated its ULEB Cup debut with a big win in an emotional night for European basketball, while Lukoil must keep working hard to get to the elimination rounds.

Monday, November 5, 2007
Javi Gancedo, ULEBcup.com
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Attendance: 6500
By Quarter1234
ASK Riga12183116
Lukoil Academic14141614
End of Quarter1234
ASK Riga12306177
Lukoil Academic14284458
ASK Riga
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 GRAFS, RAITIS 17:50 9 4/5   1/1 3 4 7 1         4 2 14
8 BROYLES, DWAYNE 28:34 16 4/4 2/4 2/3   4 4 1 1 1 1   1 4 22
9 JAHOVICS, GATIS 19:35 8 2/5 1/1 1/3 1 3 4 4 3 1     1 4 16
10 VALTERS, SANDIS 31:22 11 3/8 1/7 2/2       4 2       1 2 7
15 VECVAGARS, ARNIS 8:54 4 2/3 0/2     2 2             1 4
20 ANTONIJEVIC, MARKO 12:50 4   1/2 1/2         1 2     1 1 1
24 BUSKEVICS, SANDIS 27:58 8 3/4 0/2 2/2   2 2 4 3 4     2 1 9
34 SANDERS, AERICK 26:59 11 5/8   1/2 3 3 6     2 2   4 3 12
42 BRAMLETT, AARON 25:58 6 2/5 0/1 2/4 2 6 8 3 1 1 1   3 2 11
45 BERTANS, DAIRIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Totals 200:00 77 25/42 5/19 12/19 9 24 33 17 11 11 4 0 17 20 96
        59.5% 26.3% 63.2%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Lukoil Academic
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 CANAK, NENAD 18:25   0/4     2 5 7 1   4   1 1 1 -1
6 SMITH, DONTA 28:03 10 4/6 0/2 2/2 3 3 6 3 1 1   1 4 4 14
7 STEFANOV, RISTE 26:41 14 2/4 3/6 1/1 1 1 2 1 1 2     3 1 9
8 KOSTOV, CHAVDAR 3:27                              
9 ZAFIROV, PETROSLAV DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 DA ROSA, MURILO 7:42 4 1/1   2/2           1       1 4
11 PHILLIPOV, DIMITAR 12:35 2 1/1 0/2     1 1 4   2     2 1 2
12 ANTIC, PERO 35:51 22 8/15 1/7 3/5   7 7     4   1 2 5 12
13 SMITH, STEVIN 27:23   0/1 0/3     1 1 3   4   1 2   -7
14 BANEV, TENCHO 18:02 3 1/4   1/2 2 3 5           2 2 4
15 STOYKOV, TODOR 21:51 3 0/2 1/2   1 1 2   1 3     4 2 -2
20 HRISTOV, KALIN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team                     1         -1
Totals 200:00 58 17/38 5/22 9/12 9 22 31 12 3 22 0 4 20 17 34
        44.7% 22.7% 75%

Head Coaches

ASK Riga
"This is our first ULEB Cup game and the fans really helped us tonight, encouraging us to win it. The game was difficult from the very beginning, as they were doing their best on defense. We managed to reach our usual level in the second half, but of course, we won the game on defense. We spoke before the game that if you let the other team score a lot in the first half, you are in trouble, especially when you play against a good offensive team like Lukoil Academic, which is able to score 90 or 100 on any given night. We were able to stop their best scorers and I can say that all of my guys did a great job on defense. I must thank my players, but this is only the first game and I hope we will play even better from now on, hopefully making it to the next round. This is not the place to analyze the game, of course, but I was surprised to see how athletic Lukoil was. That gave us trouble in the first half. My team is well-prepared to face this competition and this game was extremely important for us. It wasn't easy: the opponent does not make mistakes on purpose to help us out. They were a strong team that fought until the very end. I want my team to work hard for 40 minutes, not just 39."
Lukoil Academic
"First of all, I want to congratulate ASK Riga for a deserved win. They played with high intensity, especially on defense, and we did not manage to match their intensity. They double-teamed us in the middle and that did not help our offense at all. We managed to play good defense in the first half, not allowing fast break points and preventing them from scoring. We lost that focus in the second half and basically gave up. The fact that we had 22 turnovers is enough to know what happened in the game. What we have to do now is to analyze the game, see what went wrong and improve our game. It is a fact that we have some injured guys, and another great problem is the level of the Bulgarian League, where there are not strong teams. That doesn't help us to come over here and play a good game. Of course, we had everything we needed in terms of information and scouting, we knew every detail, but it is different to do things on the court. The game is always different."


ASK Riga
"It was our first game in the ULEB Cup, we came out and played very solid defense, got the fans into it and played good basketball in the second half to get that first win out of the way. I think we came out slow in the first half in terms of defense and intensity, allowing easy baskets. We managed to play our brand of basketball in the second half. The pre-game ceremony was amazing, it was really great to see those guys. ASK Riga has a great tradition and we are trying to continue it now. We have a great team and we are still missing some key guys. We play together, very hard. Once we get those guys back we will be at full strength."
ASK Riga
"I feel really good. This is a great win for us. We have been struggling lately and it was good to come out today and play well in our first ULEB Cup game. We sent a message out there saying that we will be a pretty good team in this competition. The pre-game ceremony was great, really nice. What they did for those guys and the way they honoured them was something special. This was definitely good for European basketball. When we get healthy and get everybody back, we will be really dangerous. We are still without some very important players but are coming together as a team, playing harder and more together."
Lukoil Academic
"We have a long season in front of us but it is not good to start with a loss like that. We made a couple of mistakes here, missed some shots in there and ASK broke the game open in the second half. I cannot explain what happened, but we have to work hard to recover from this loss and be able to start winning games to make it to the next round."
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