Asvel Basket joined a three-way tie for first place in Group D by ruling for the last 25 minutes of a no-doubt-about-it 53-70 road win against Telindus Oostende on Tuesday. Asvel is now 2-1 and locked in a tie for the group lead with Lukoil Academic and Valencia Basket. Oostende falls to 0-3 and a true danger zone as far as reaching the Last 16 with just three regular season games left. Oostende led 22-19 midway through the second quarter, when Asvel turned on the jets and pulled steadily away to a solid win. Kim Tillie paced the winners with 14 points on 7-for-10 two-point shooting. Hilton Armstrong and Edwin Jackson came next with 12 poins each, while Leo Westermann added 11. Asvel's big weapon was defense, as Oostende's top sccorers were Chris Booker with 11 points and Dragisa Drobnjak with 10. Booker added 12 rebounds for a double-double and 4 steals.
Tillie got the visitors from Asvel on the board first and Armstrong kept them ahead 2-3 with a free throw, but it was all Oostende after that. Four players hit layups before Veselin Petrovic made it an 11-0 run and a 13-3 lead from downtown. And Oostende wasn't done yet. Booker's fourth basket without a miss extended the run, but then Asvel started one of its own, with Bangaly Fofana's free throws starting a 2-8 response that cut the difference to 17-11 after 10 minutes. Tilie kept the mometum in Asvel's direction until Jackson's jumper tied 19-19, making it a 4-16 run for the visitors. Dusan Djordjevic struck from long range to take the lead again for Oostende, but soon enough, Jackson was taking it twice for Asvel, on a dunk-and-free throw combination followed by another layup at 24-26. For 4 minutes near the end of the quarter Asvel's defense blanked the hosts, but Kennedy Winston and Petrovic forged a tie with 9 seconds left only to see Tillie finish the half as he started it, giving Asvel a two-point lead on the buzzer, 28-30.
Oostende took the momentum and the lead back after halftime as Petrovic and Winston scored 4 points each in a 10-2 run to a 38-32 lead. Jackson again struck back for Asvel, with a three-pointer, and when Dijon Thompson copied him a minute later, the teams were locked in a 40-40 tie. Drobnjak broke it in Oostende's favor, but Fofana's subsequent pair of inside shots suddenly put Asvel up 42-49 after 30 minutes. Tillie and Drobnjak exchanged baskets to open the fourth quarter before Asvel lifted off with 15 unanswered points in a row, starting with a triple by Westermann and featuring 6 points by Armstrong. Just like that, it was a 20-point Asvel advanage, 44-64. That was more than enough for Asvel's defense which finished the game having allowed Oosende just 15 points in the last 16 minutes.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011