Adecco Asvel broke its 13-game losing streak in the Euroleague by beating Union Olimpija 61-54 in Group B at home in Villeurbanne, France, on Thursday night. Asvel improved to 1-4 in Group B standings, tying for the seventh place with AEK Athens, while Olimpija dropped to 2-3, good for a three-way tie for the fourth spot in the standings. The last time Asvel won a Euroleague game was almost a year ago, on December 4, 2003 against Pamesa Valencia. On Thursday, Terrell Lyday led the winners with 13 points and 4 assists. Huseyin Besok added a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Danny Miller scored 11 points for Asvel. Andres Rodriguez had 10 points for Olimpija, while Vladimer Boisa barely missed a double-double with 9 points and 11 rebounds. Asvel broke its losing streak in style, providing a defensive exhibition in the first half, in which Olimpija was limited to 19 points. The guests were held to 17-for-55 shooting and were outrebounded 43-35 by Asvel.
Asvel had a solid start, as Besok drilled a turnaround jumper and Lyday a three-pointer for a 5-0 lead. It didn't last long, however. Layups by Dusan Bocevski and Rodriguez brought Olimpija within 5-4. Asvel had patience on offense against Olimpija's man-to-man defense, as Miller and Lyday, with another three, provided a 10-6 edge. Olimpija struggled to score now, missing 4 shots in a row, while Stephane Pelle and Besok scored near the basket. Once again Lyday added points to boost the hosts to a 16-8 margin after 7 minutes. Two scoreless minutes ended when Marino Bazdaric made a short jumper to bring the guests within 16-10 after 10 minutes, by which time Asvel was outrebounding its guests 15-8.
Olimpija continued struggling to score early in the second, while Asvel controlled the boards and patiently sought good options on offense. Pelle dunked and Harold Mrazek fed Karim Souchu for an easy layup as Asvel doubled Olimpija on the scoreboard, 20-10. Boisa tried to wake up his team with a three-point play, but all Olimpija shooters were off-target, while Mrazek followed Pelle's mid-range jumper with a triple for a 25-15 Asvel advantage. Lyday fired in again from downtown, but by now Asvel's outstanding defensive exhibition was the news. Besok capped an 11-0 run with a long two-pointer, which Bazdaric answered for Olimpija's first points in more than 3 minutes, but still the guests were staring at a 30-19 halftime deficit.
Olimpija came back from the break with a different attitude. Bocevski scored in the low post and Manuchar Markoishvili followed as the guests looked for quick opportunities. Boisa capped a 2-7 run from downtown to make it 32-26. Next, Marijan Mance fired in a three-pointer, but Miller matched it on the other end against Olimpija's 2-3 zone defense. During 2 minutes of tough defense again, Bocevski was the only player to score, as his put-back layup made it a five-point game, 36-31.Bocevski kept up Olimpija's rally with a basket-plus-free throw for a 38-35 scoreboard, but Besok helped Asvel to keep a 42-35 edge after 30 minutes.
Olimpija needed a quick rally to get back into the game, but the guests went scoreless for the opening 2 minutes of the final quarter. Meanwhile, Besok drilled a four-meter jumper for a 44-35 Asvel lead. Rodriguez tried to wake up his team with a floating layup, but Tomislav Ruzic scored near the basket and Mrazek drilled a long jumper to boost Asvel to a 49-39 edge with 5 minutes to go. Boisa scored a big basket and a added a free throw for 49-42, but Miller helped Asvel stay safe with a three-point play. Olimpija needed a miracle now, but Bazdaric fired in a three-pointer and free throws to make Olimpija believe at 52-47, with less than 3 minutes to go. Asvel added some drama by missing 4 consecutive shots, but Pelle scored around the basket to give the hosts fresh air at 55-49. Olimpija finally surrendered, while Ruzic drilled a four-meter jumper to seal Asvel's first win of the Euroleague season!
Thursday, December 2, 2004