Slovenian champ KRKA Novo Mesto made a stand on Tuesday night by thrashing Le Mans in France by 65-84 in a Group F showdown, and getting its first win of the season in the process. Things looked good for KRKA in the first minutes but Le Mans recovered and was back to 30-32 before the break. However, a huge Allan Ray and a 0-11 that started the second half marked the fate of the game early as the guests cruised to victory in the second 20 minutes with a total 30-42 score in the last two quarters. The win allows KRKA to improve its record to 1-1 while Le Mans drops to 0-2. Ray led the winners with 23 points including 6 of 8 threes. Jimmy Baxter added 17 and Jerome Jordan had 12 for KRKA. For Le Mans, William Coleman led the way with 11 points and only Joao Paolo Batista reached double digits with him with his 10 points. A 31-43 in rebounds for KRKA, 15 offensive, and an 11 of 23 from the arc built the win of the guests.
Two threes by Jimmy Baxter made a statement for KRKA in Le Mans as the game started with a 0-6 in the blink of an eye. Baxter was soon up to his eighth point
for the 2-8 but the hosts woke up fast as Marcellus Sommerville seemed to be chasing the guests with consectutive baskets for the 9-11. Newcomer Allan Ray
then woke up for KRKA and hit seven fast points that, together with Edo Muric's layup, allowed the guests to build a double-digit lead of 14-24 that closed
the first period. Le Mans was at 4 of 13 two-pointers and KRKA dominated the rebounds, 6-10. Joao Paolo Batista and Alex Acker teamed up in the second period
to try putting Le Mans back on track. KRKA tried to resist, but the defense of the hosts worked better now and soon Acker hit free throws for 24-28. Baxter
wanted to make sure that KRKA stayed in a safe place but Batista was relentless as the score stayed at a 28-32. The 7 turnovers at that point were hurting
the guests' previous work while the hosts were improving the two-pointer percentage. Charles Kahudi's free throws made it 30-32 but Ray hit it from downtown
to keep the five-point lead for KRKA. Things didn't change much in the remaining plays of the period with KRKA leading by 35-42 after 20 minutes.
The second half started with a commanding 0-11 burst for KRKA that had six points by Ray, ons triple and a basket-plus-foul for a quick 35-53. Hneri Kahudi
gave some signs of life for Le Mans with his own three, but the battle for rebounds was falling in favor of KRKA's side and that was deciding the game quickly. The deficit for Le Mans went down from almost 20 to 12 points as Dy Bongou and Charles Kahudi hit five points in a row for the hosts to make it 47-59, but Muric appeared in time for the guests to calm things down with a three but Bongou had time for a last layup to put an end to the third period, 49-63 for KRKA. The guests played smart in the start of the last period with baskets by Jerome Jordan in the paint and then Ray outside to make it a 20-point game, 79-59 with five minutes to go. Despite having more turnovers than Le Mans, KRKA's dominance in rebounds, 26-40, and its 10 of 21 from the arc were too much for Le Mans to overcome. The hosts tried it for a last time but the good KRKA defense forced the mistakes as the clock ticked away and the Slovenian champs escaped France with a valuable road win.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011