Strasbourg made its ULEB Cup debut a victorious one, edging Snaidero Cucine Udine 81-75 in a thrilling game Tuesday in France. The hosts share the Group B lead with FMP and Ventpils, who also won their openers Tuesday. The game was balanced and the two teams exchanged the lead several time during the 40 minutes, before a late Strasbourg 9-0 run sealed it. Chuck Eidson led all scorers with 27 points and 8 rebounds for Strasbourg, while Claude Marquis was good for 16 and 7. Snaidero's Jacob Jaacks recorded a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Damon Williams and Silvio Gigena added 10 points apiece.
Patrick Mutombo opened the game for Snaidero by scoring from downtown, but Eidson nailed four points to give Strasbourg its first advantage, 6-5. Rising star Michele Antonutti hit another triple for Udine before the hosts exploded with a 10-0 run, highlighted by Eidson and Aerick Sanders to take a 16-8 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter. Four different Snaidero players combined on a 9-0 run to retake the lead at 16-17. Two free throws by Afik Nissim gave Strasbourg a slim 18-17 advantage after 10 minutes. Claude Marquis gave Strasbourg a 24-17 cushion early in the second quarter, but Jaacks cut away from the foul line. Dirk Madrich and Kristaps Valters scored 4 points apiece to make it 28-25 with three minutes left to halftime. Andrew Wisniewski scored 3 points in a row, pushing his team ahead 31-32, before Michael Smith sank a long-distance shot at the buzzer to give to Strasbourg a 34-32 lead at halftime.
Williams tied the score at 34-34 with the first basket of the second half. The teams then exchanged baskets and the lead, with Eidson giving Strasbourg a 46-45 lead midway through the quarter. Sanders blocked a Valters shot and launched Eidson for an easy basket in the open court, then Smith stole a ball to send Marquis for another layup and a 50-45 cushion. Snaidero was forced to call timeout, but nothing changed and Eidson capped an 8-0 run, highlighted by his 6 points to increase the advantage to 7. Udine captain Christian Di Giuliomaria tried to wake his teammates with a dunk, which was well received by Silvio Gigena, who then scored 5 straight points put his side on top 52-53. Smith ended the third period with Strasbourg up 55-52. Snaidero started the final quarter at its best with back-to-back baskets from Antonutti and Jaacks to go up 55-56, but Marquis and John McCord answered quickly to retake the lead. The game became a see-saw thriller, as Jaacks put the visitors ahead, before Lonnie Cooper tied the score at 63-63 with five minutes left. Eidson's triple with three minutes left capped a 9-0 run that give the hosts the lead for good. Jaacks and Madrich scored from the foul line, then Williams hit a three to keep the Snaidero hopes burning. Jaacks's slam was a sign that Udine was back on track at 74-71, but McCord scored two free throws to take it to 76-71. Larry O'Bannon's triple made it 78-74, then Marquis and Cooper from the foul line gave to the hosts a 6-point cushion. In the last minute, Williams missed one of his two free throws, while Marquis sealed the hosts' win from the line.