Artland Dragons rallied back in the second half to pick up their first Eurocup win of the season by downing Le Mans Sarthe Basket 76-71. The victory means both Artland and Le Mans hold a 1-2 record and together with VEF Riga share second place in Group C. Le Mans held a 9-point lead in the first half and was up 49-55 midway through the third quarter, however Artland put together a 13-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters and gave the hosts control of the game. Anthony King had a crucial role in victory, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and collecting 8 rebounds in the process. Marquez Haynes and Johannes Strasser each scored 14, Dennis Horner had 12 point plus 10 rebounds while Demond Mallet netted 10 for Artland. Joao Paolo Batista had game-high 24 for Le Mans, Pape Sy scored 20 and Charles Kahudi finished with 10 in defeat.
Batista opened the game with a pair of free throws and the hosts responded with jumpers from Mallet and King. Le Mans made the first significant run of the game with Batista scoring 8 points in a 2-12 run for 8-16 advantage, but Horner fueled Artland’s quick response with couple of assists, an offensive rebound and a jumper that cut the lead to 16-17 at the end of the first quarter. Pape Sy scored a layup and basket-plus-foul for Le Mans at the start of the second before Cameron Long hit from downtown and Batiste scored inside to make it 18-27. However, Artland stopped the bleeding with three triples from Johannes Strasser. Marquez Haynes lifted the hosts with a dunk and a three-point-play and finally Guido Grunheid’s put-back beat the buzzer to give Artland a 38-37 halftime lead.
The third quarter started with another layup from Batiste, while triples from Sy and Khalid El-Amin gave Le Mans a 44-47 advantage. Mallet hit a couple of jumpers and 6 straight points for Artland, while Sy and Batiste kept the visitors in front and Cuthbert Victor made it 49-55. However, what followed was a 13-0 Artland run. The hosts finished the quarter by scoring 6 unanswered points, with Horner and Strasser in main roles again to tie the game at 55-55 after three quarters. King broke the tie at the start of the fourth quarter, and Strasser hit his fourth triple for the hosts in a 7-0 run. While Le Mans stayed in range with a triple from Long and couple baskets from Batiste, King was Artland’s go-to-guy with 11 of 16 Artland’s points at the start of the fourth quarter. After Haynes hit a jumper and a layup, the Dragons pulled away to 74-64. It was too little too late when Kahudi hit a triple for Le Mans with 62 seconds to go as the visitors only managed to cut the margin to 5 points before the game’s end.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012