Ulm hits 15 threes, runs past Bourg
ratiopharm Ulm knocked down a season-high 15 three-point shots to run past the visiting Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse 96-86 on Tuesday night. The win lifted Ulm's record to 4-3 in Group B while Bourg dropped to 2-5. Ulm pulled away to a double-digit margin in the first half behind Cristiano Felicio and Sindarius Thornwell, then never allowed Bourg to get closer than 7 points in the second half. Thornwell netted 23 points on 6-for-9 three-point shooting and Felicio collected 20 points and 10 rebounds. Semaj Christon had 13 points and 10 assists while Thomas Kleipesz added 13 and 6, respectively, for the winners. Fedor Zugic also scored in double figures for Ulm with 10 points in 13 minutes. Calvin Harris and Rasheed Sulaimon each scored 24 for Bourg. Pierre Pelos had 12 and Maxime Courby netted 11 in a losing effort.
Felicio scored Ulm's first 7 points and Sulaimon Bourg's first 6 before Axel Julien's three-pointer gave Bourg a 7-9 advantage. Thornwell knocked down a three in response and followed it with another one. Klepeisz and Philipp Herkenhoff followed their teammate from downtown to suddenly open a 19-9 Ulm lead. Pelos made a nifty move inside to snap Ulm's 12-0 run, but Felicio's three-point play and a fastbreak layup from Zugic helped extend the margin to 26-11. The hosts held 28-16 after 10 minutes, but Pelos hit a three-pointer as Harris fueled a 0-9 run to cut the difference to 28-25. After a timeout, however, Ulm re-took control. Christon hit a three-pointer and fed Felicio for an alley-oop dunk. Thornwell had another three and Felicio a pair of baskets inside to open a 42-25 lead. Alexandre Chassang snapped Ulm's 14-0 burst from deep, but back-to-back triples from Thornwell and Herkenhoff soon brought the hosts to a 50-36 halftime lead.
Jaron Blossomgame had a three-point play and an alley-oop dunk for Ulm after the break, but Harris scored 8 unanswered points for Bourg to cut the margin to 55-47. Maxime Courby's triple got Bourg within 57-50, but Klepeisz answered with a triple and a four-point play to re-open a 14-point lead, 64-50. Sulaimon had a three-point play that Thornwell answered with 8 consecutive points, including a pair of triples, to send Ulm's lead soaring to 72-53. Courby hit a three-pointer for the visitors to close the third quarter, but Zugic knocked down a three to open the fourth. Sulaimon and Harris each had a jumper and a layup for the visitors, and Courby's triple made it 85-74 midway through the final quarter, but Ulm still cruised to victory.
Ulm's offense clicked without top scorers
After netting 17 points in his EuroCup debut last week in a road win at Gran Canaria, Sindarius Thornwell doubled up with another stellar performance for Ulm. He netted 4 of 5 three-pointers in the first half against Bourg, scoring 14 points before halftime, then made 2 of 4 in the second half to finish with team-high 23 points.
Thornwell and Cristiano Felicio combined for 32 points of Ulm's 50 points at the break. What was unusual is that Ulm scored those 50 points despite their top three scorers entering this game – Semaj Christon, Jaron Blossom Game and Thomas Klepeisz – combining for just 8 points in the first half. It was a result of a great ball movement (15 assists) as well as 8-for-15 three-point shooting in the first two quarters.
Ulm's teamwork made for dreamwork
Ulm's ball movement was just what any coach would want from his team. Ulm finished with 25 assists, a season high and the most by Ulm since 2016. Of those assists, 22 came in the first three quarters when Ulm broke the game open. The team had 8 dishes already in the opening quarter and 7 apiece in the middle two quarters.
Semaj Christon and Thomas Klepeisz combined for 16 assists, but four of their teammates had multiple assists, too. Such team passing also led to numerous open looks which Ulm players knocked down, finishing 15-for-33 from beyond the arc.
Key performer: Felicio set the tone for Ulm
Ulm big man Cristiano Felicio entered the game with a season high of 13 points, the same total he reached in the last two games combined. But Felicio dominated against Bourg's depleted frontline in the first half to set the tone for the entire game. Felicio scored the first 7 points of the night and had 18 points in 16 first-half minutes. He did it on 8-for-9 two-point shooting, too, leading Ulm in building an 18-point second-quarter margin. Felicio finished with 20 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds, including 6 on the offensive glass. Ulm had 18 offensive boards and outrebounded the visitors 39-28.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021