Collins, Duport lead Strasbourg to big road win
Strasbourg got closer to becoming the first French team ever to reach the Eurocup Semifinals when it downed host Nizhny Novgorod 85-94 in Game 1 of their two-way quarterfinal series on Wednesday. Strasbourg hosts the second and final game of the series next week, after which the winner on aggregate score will advance to the semifinals. Mardy Collins led the winners with 24 points. Romain Duport added 18, Jeremy Leloup 14, Rodrigue Beaubois 11 and Louis Campbell 10 for Strasbourg, which made 10 of 14 three-point shots. Evgeny Baburin led Nizhny with 20 points. Semen Antonov added 18, Dmitry Khvostov 14 and Vladimir Ivlev 11 for the hosts. Bangaly Fofana and Leloup shined early to give Strasbourg a 17-20 lead. Rasid Mahalbasic and Baburin fueled an 11-0 run that bridged the first two quarters for a 30-25 Nizhny lead. A 0-9 run that Paul Lacombe capped with consecutive layups forced the hosts to call timeout at 32-36. A red-hot Baburin and Ivlev rescued Nizhny but free throws by Collins gave Strasbourg a 48-50 lead at halftime. Beaubois and Leloup struck from downtown after the break to boost the guests' margin to 50-63, and Collins allowed Strasbourg to keep a good margin, 67-75, after 30 minutes. Leloup and Campbell shined early in the fourth quarter to make Strasbourg improve its margin to 70-88. Antonov had 8 points in a 13-0 run which brought Nizhny closer in the series.
Fofana got Strasbourg going with an alley-oop dunk and inside basket but Baburin single-handedly gave Nizhny a 6-4 lead. Campbell and Fofana fueled a 6-0 Strasbourg response, but Antonov and a red-hot Baburin put the hosts ahead, 12-10. Beaubois took over with a wild three-point play and erased Antonov's jumper with a driving layup. Antonov answered with a triple but 5 unanswered points by Leloup made Nizhny call timeout at 17-20. Mahalbasic scored down low but Duport did better with a three-pointer and a jumper. Baburin hit his third shot from downtown and Ivlev dunked in a 9-0 run which gave Nizhny a 28-25 lead after 10 minutes. Mahalbasic kept pacing the hosts with a layup early in the second quarter and Victor Rudd matched Duport's mid-range jumper with foul shots. Campbell buried a triple, igniting a 0-9 Strasbourg run that Lacombe capped with consecutive layups to make Nizhny call timeout at 32-36. Ivlev and Khvostov stepped up for the hosts, giving their team a 39-38 edge. Rudd shined with a fast break layup but Collins took over to give Strasbourg a 41-43 edge. Duport made a tip-in and Leloup another a triple but Baburin struck twice from downtown to tie it at 48-48. Free throws by Collins put Strasbourg ahead, 48-50, at halftime.
Beaubois sank a step-back triple immediately after the break for the visitors. Khvostov and Collins traded jumpers and a jump-hook by Duport made it 50-57. Beaubois struck again from downtown and Leloup joined the three-point shootout to cap a 0-10 run that gave Strasbourg a 50-63 lead. Ivlev stepped up with a layup and Khvostov followed him with consecutive triples for Nizhny, but Collins and Lacombe kept Strasbourg fully in charge, 59-67. Antonov sank a jumper that Collins followed with a dunk and free throws for a 61-71 Strasbourg lead. Foul shots by Ivlev and Baburin and a basket by Andrei Kirdiachkin gave Nizhny a boost before a layup by Campbell fixed the score at 67-75 after 30 minutes. Ivan Strebkov found his first points early in the fourth quarter but Leloup did better with his fourth triple. Kyle Weems sank a jumper, Fofana and Kirdiachkin split foul shots and a three-point play by Campbell made it a 14-point difference, 70-84. Nizhny had 6 minutes to trim the deficit but Collins took over with consecutive baskets for a 70-88 scoreboard with 4 minutes left. Antonov tried to change things for Nizhny and a jump hook by Mahalbasic made Strasbourg call timeout at 74-88. Khvostov and Antonov buried back-to-back three-pointers to make the guests stop the game again. Antonov capped a 13-0 run with a triple but Collins and Duport answered from downtown to give Strasbourg a nine-point lead in the series.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016