Caprabo Lleida of Spain avenged an earlier Group D home loss and made a jump in the standings by winning 75-87 at Charleroi in Belgium on Wednesday. Thanks to this important win, Lleida is now second in Group D, tied with KK Zadar at 4-3, while Charleroi drops to a fourth-place tie with Ricoh Astronauts at 3-4. The main man of the game was no doubt A.J. Bramlett, whose 27 points allowed Lleida to come back after having been 11 points behind Charleroi just after halftime. Sergio Ramos added 21 for the winnes and Alberto Angulo 14. For Charleroi, Jacques Stas led the way with 16 points. Ronald Ellis and Marcus Faison added 12 each and Roger Huggins 10.
The difference was mainly a question of power and defense. The game started with plenty of precision, as after 7 minutes, only 3 shots had missed and Charleroi led 15-14. Ellis and Ramos were pacing their teams with 6 points each, and actually, things were close everywhere but inside, where Lleida was already taking advantage of Bramlett. The ease with which he found short baskets allowed the visitors to lead 21-26 after 10 minutes. The second quarter got off to a rough start with a lot of fouls on both sides. Charleroi had difficulty against the Spanish defense but finally was able to get to the basket thanks to Faison and Stas. Ruffin and Bramlett were still working very physically but the balance seemed to have changed as Charleroi, working hard on the boards, ran with those rebounds for easy baskets. Jim Potter was also holding down Bramlett better, and it all added up to a 43-40 Charleroi lead at the half.
Charleroi looked like it was going run away in the third quarter as it opened a gap of 11 points, 51-40, taking advantage of 3 turnovers by Bramlett. Lleida took a timeout which proved useful in correcting the defense. Charleroi, instead of slowing the game and managing the clock, began to force its shoots. And the game began to turn, with a 4-15 run by Lleida that tied the proceedings at 55-55. From that moment, Bramlett had no more difficulties, while Ramos and Roger Grimau joined him in finding open shots. Feeling the game going away, Charleroi kept forcing and the Lleida lead hit 66-74. Lleida got stronger as the game went on, playing more intense and collectively on defense until there was little doubt the visitors definitely deserved the win.
Wednesday, December 11, 2002