Cedevita Zagreb rallied in the fourth quarter to edge Elan Chalon-sur-Saone 75-71, claiming a spot in the Last 32. Win improved Cedevita to 6-4 in Group B, and it will finish in the second place if Bilbao Basket (4-5) beats the visiting EWE Baskets Oldenburg (5-4) on Wednesday, and it will be third if Oldenburg wins. Nolan Smith had 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists to pace Cedevita who used 16-2 run in the fourth quarter to go up 70-64, taking the lead for good. Goran Suton had 12 points plus 7 rebounds, and Jusuf Nurkic contributed with 11 points plus 6 rebounds in victory. A.J. Slaughter led Chalon with 19 points and 5 assists, Steed Tchicamboud netted 16, while Clint Capela collected 14 points plus 10 rebounds in defeat.
Luka Babic and Smith were in the rhythm early for Cedevita, but Capela scored 6 points from close range, and Tchicamboud nailed one from long range and 11-13. Slaughter and Tomislav Zubcic traded triples for 16-16, before the hosts, who grabbed 7 offensive rebounds in the first quarter, went in front 20-17 with a pair of baskets from Smith. Cedevita pulled away at the start of the second, Ivan Ramljak, Miro Bilan and Suton contributed in a spurt for 30-21, but Slaughter replied with a triple and a jumper. After Nurkic made it 35-27 with a basket-plus-free throw, Ilian Evtimov and Kris Joseph sparked a 0-9 run, capped with a triple by Slaughter and 35-36 halftime lead. After the break, Chalon started pulling away with a Tchicamboud triple, before baskets from Evtimov and Slaughter made it 39-45. Smith and Suton cut it to 45-47, but Tchicamboud nailed couple more triples, and Evtimov added a layup for 50-59. The visitors entered the final quarter up by 7, and a three-pointer from Joseph extended it to 54-62. But Cedevita’s big-men-duo, Nurkic and Suton, fueled an 8-0 run to tie the game, 62-62. Cedevita regained the lead with a put-back from Smith, and a jumper from Allan Ray, before Ray made a steal and Smith scored on a fastbreak for 70-64 with 2 minutes to go. The hosts allowed only one basket in more than 7 minutes, before Axel Bouteille ended Chalon’s drought. The visitors’ hopes remained alive in the last minute when Slaughter hit his third triple, and the same player made both free throws with 14 seconds remaining, cutting it to 72-71. But Ray sunk a pair from the foul line, and Cedevita secured a rebound after a potential game-tying triple from Slaughter, sealing the deal.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013