Prokom pulls away to down Berlin for maiden win
Asseco Prokom Gdynia picked up its first win of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season campaign by downing visiting Alba Berlin 77-66 at Ergo Arena on Thursday night. The victory gives the Polish champs a 1-2 record and a tie for third place in the group, while Alba falls to 2-1 and into second place. After three quarters of a seesaw battle, Prokom came up with 11 unanswered points at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, and overall a 22-5 run in a seven-minute span to build 66-55 lead en route to victory. Jerel Blassingame led Prokom with 16 points and 10 assists, Mateusz Ponitka scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. Lukasz Koszarek also scored 12 while Frank Robinson finished with 10. DaShaun Wood had game-high 18 points for Alba, Zach Morley finished with 13 and Deon Thompson netted 10 points in defeat.
First quarter: Strong start give Alba slim lead
With a couple of fast-break layups after defensive stops, Wood and Morley set the tone early for Alba. Lukasz Koszarek’s mid-range jumper after two minutes followed by a Robinson put-back tied the game at 4-4, but Yassin Idbihi scored inside, Wood hit a jumper and Vule Avdalovic made a layup for a 4-10 lead. Blassingame’s triple from the right corner and Adam Hrycaniuk’s free-throws brought Prokom back within 1, but Albert Miralles answered with a short turnaround shot and a dunk and Avdalovic scored an uncontested layup making it 11-16. Blassingame sank his second triple to single-handedly keep Prokom in the game, and Nihad Djedovic beat the buzzer with a bouncy floater to make it 14-18 after the first quarter.
Second quarter: A seesaw battles continues
Rashid Mahalbasic used Blassingame’s lovely assist to score a layup at the start of the second quarter before Piotr Szczotka tied the game at 18-18 with a jump shot. Alba’s offense suddenly stalled and another Blassingame’s assist, this time for a dunk by Robinson, gave Prokom its first lead of the game. Ponitka’s drive made it 22-18 after and caused visiting coach Sasa Obradovic to call a timeout. After Alba missed several open three-pointers and free throws, Avdalovic hit a runner to score the visitors’ first points after six minutes of the quarter. That not only ended the drought but sparked a little 1-6 run for the Berliners - Thompson used Morley’s steal to tie the game and Morley drove through the paint for a monster dunk that put Alba back into the lead, 23-24. Koszarek hit a triple, but Morely answered back with a layup-plus-foul. In the final two minutes, though, Hrycaniuk and Alex Acker hit 6 of 6 free throws, with Morley hitting a jumper in between, as Prokom went into the halftime holding 32-29 advantage.
Third quarter: Alba reels off 11 straight points, Prokom answers
Thompson and Morley twice brought Alba within 1 at the beginning of the third quarter, but a driving layup by Acker followed by back-to-back three-pointers by Acker and Koszarek extended Prokom’s lead to 40-35, its biggest to that point. Morley drove to the hoop and Thompson hit a jumper to make it a 1-point game once again and then Wood’s flooter gave Alba a 40-41 advantage with little over five minutes to go in the quarter. Thompson hit another jumper extending visitors’ run and after a quick Prokom turnover, Heiko Schaffartzik hit a tough three-pointer to give Alba a 40-46 advantage after 26 minutes. Acker’s reverse layup snapped a 0-11 run, before a Koszarek jumper and Mahalbasic’s layup kept Prokom within 4 points before the final 60 seconds of the quarter. Then Robinson hit a triple and Blassingame got a lucky bounce on his jump shot to give Prokom 51-50 advantage entering final 10 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Ponitka and Blassingame secure victory for Prokom
Mahalbasic extended the lead on the first possession of the fourth quarter and Ponitka hit a long jumper giving Prokom another 5-point lead, 55-50. Wood hit a three-pointer on the other end, but Robinson answered right back with a shot behind the arc. Ponitka’s baseline jumper soon made it 60-53. After an Alba timeout, Wood and Blassingame traded layups before Mahalbasic’s layup opened up a 9-point lead with six minutes to go. Prokom’s stepped up on defense, not giving the visitors any open looks. Blassingame hit a fadeaway jumper to give the hosts a 64-53 advantage inside the final five minutes. Wood hit a triple and Schaffartzik hit 2 from the charity stripe to cut the deficit to 6, but Ponitka hit a three-pointer from the left corner and Blassingame hit one from 8 meters out to stretch the lead to 12 points, 74-62, and secure well deserved Prokom’s victory. Schaffartzik and Ponitka each hit a triple in the final 80 seconds to make it a final score of 77-66.
Thursday, October 25, 2012