Some help in the frontcourt from an old friend proved to be the push that Darussafaka needed to register its first Group C win, 84-79 at home in Istanbul on Tuesday against visiting Elan Chalon of France. Forward Vincent Jones played for Darussafaka last year, but only returned this week from injury. He contributed 9 points and 10 important rebounds to the cause, working beside veteran center Acie Earl, who put up huge numbers again. Earl exploded for 29 points and 12 rebounds for the winners, while Leoni Yaylo was the other big contributor, with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. The victory pulled Darussafaka out of the Group C basement to join Chalon, at least, with 1-3 records. The win was extra sweet considering that Darussafaka lost in double-overtime at home the previous week. For Chalon, Udonis Haslem had a team-high 24 points inside, but only 4 rebounds on a night when the French team was beat on the boards 40-26. Stanley Jackson, a combo guard, had 15 points and was his team's leading rebounder with 9. Casey Calvary added 15 points for Chalon.
Darussafaka had Jones in its starting lineup, but Chalon took an early 1-5 lead on a basket by Haslem and a three-pointer by Calvary. Darussafaka responded quickly to control the match by going inside to the big men, Earl and Jones. Consecutive baskets by Earl quickly tied the game, then a series of fastbreaks sent Darussafaka on its way with a seven-point advantage, 21-14, in the 7th minute. Hakan Koseoglu had a speedy inside drive to end the first period with the locals leading by 6 points, 27-21. Neither could score during almost 3 minutes at the start of the second quarter, until Haslem cut Chalon's deficit to 4 points. Chalon turned to a zone defence to stop Darussafaka inside, but Yaylo made them pay with 2 consecutive shots from downtown that broke the game open at 33-23 for Darussafaka. Back in man-to-man defense, Chalon found better luck, in part because four Darussafaka starters - Earl, Jones, Koseoglu and shooter Ufuk Sarica - were busy collecting three fouls each before halftime. Chalon used that advantage to reduce the difference to 44-40, which might have been even closer if not for missed foul shots by the French side. By then, Yaylo had 17 points and Earl 15 while Haslem had 11 and Jackson 8 for Chalon.
In the third period, a cat-and-mouse theme saw Darussafaka try to escape but Chalon trying to prevent the same. A Koseoglu three-pointer made it 55-46 halfway through the quarter, and after some Chalon turnovers, the lead reached 10 points again at 59-49 on a foul shot by Earl. Jackson got the deficit back down to 7 with free throws that made the score 61-54 after 30 minutes. It was the prelude of Chalon's comeback attempt in the last quarter. Calvary's dunk less than two minutes later reduced the differance to 63-58 and then a three from deep by Luc Arthur Vebode cut it further, to 64-61 with over 7 minutes left. With both Jones and Koseoglu hit with fourth fouls, Chalon got within a single basked, at 66-64, on a free throw by Calvary. That was the closest Chalon had been all game, but that was as close as it would get, too. Veterans Sarica and Earl would not let this victory escape. Sarica's three-pointer and Earl's basket-plus-foul in the 38th minute relaxed Darussafaka. Chalon tried it hard but there was no way for the French side to turn the game around before it ended 84-79 for the locals.
Tuesday, November 5, 2002