ALBA KO's Arka in Gdynia
ALBA Berlin remained alive in the hunt for first place in Group B with a 64-76 road victory over Arka Gdynia, which eliminated the home team from Top 16 contention. ALBA improved to 7-2 and will capture the top spot in the group if it defeats Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar next week. Arka lost its fourth straight game, saw its record fall to 1-8 and was formally eliminated from Top 16 contention. Niels Giffey paced the winners with18 points, Luke Sikma added 16 points plus a club-record 6 steals and Peyton Siva made his return from injury with 14 points and 10 assists. Deividas Dulkys led Arka with 22 points in 21 minutes and tied a club record for three-pointers made with 6.
The game was close early with a Filip Dylewicz triple giving Arka its first lead, 9-6, midway through the opening quarter. ALBA turned to its bench and recaptured the lead through Giffey and Siva. ALBA finished the first quarter on a 0-8 run for a 12-19 advantage. Tim Schneider knocked down a three early in the second quarter to give the visitors their first double-digit lead, 14-24. Dulkys sank a pair of threes to keep Arka in the game. Josh Bostic added another as five Arka players scored in a 10-0 surge that nosed the hosts ahead 32-31. ALBA silenced Arka for the next three and a half minutes while reeling off 10 straight points, half of which Rokas Giedraitis scored. Siva buried a long three on the halftime buzzer to make it 33-44. Sikma converted a trio of three-pointers in the third quarter as ALBA stretched its lead to 14. Arka did not break and Dulkys's fourth triple of the night made it 52-61 through three quarters. Dulkys his twice more from downtown early in the fourth, but Giffey and Sikma kept ALBA in charge and the visitors held on for the victory.
In a game that had several runs, the most impactful was the 10 straight points ALBA scored late in the second quarter, just after Arka's 10-0 run gave it a 32-31 lead. Rokas Giedraitis scored half the points and Niels Giffey tallied 2 points, 2 steals and a 1 block in the run that lasted three and a half scoreless minutes and saw ALBA take control for good.
Siva sparkles in return
The game was close when Peyton Siva came off the bench in the first quarter and he quickly teamed with Niels Giffey to help the visitors take control. Siva, who had missed four games with a rib injury, found his old form quickly and went on to record his second double-double in five appearances this season. His 10.2 assists per game not only leads the EuroCup, but is the second highest average ever in the regular season. If he delivered at least 11 assists in Round 10, he will wrest that record away from Stefan Markovic, who averaged 10.29 assists in the regular season for Zenit St. Petersburg two seasons ago.
ALBA rewrites its record books
On a night in which it did not shoot well, ALBA made up for it with historic numbers in other areas. ALBA set a club record with 19 steals and Luke Sikma led the way with a club record 6 steals. The team's 48 rebounds were the most in a non-overtime game in over a decade and its 21 offensive rebounds were the second-most in club history and most in a non-overtime game. For Arka, James Florence tied his own club record with 5 steals and Deividas Dulkys tied Dragan Markovic's club record set in November 2003 with 6 three-pointers.
In Round 10
ALBA will try to capture the top spot in Group B when it hosts Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, while Arka will finish out its EuroCup campaign with a trip to Limoges CSP. Both games will be on Wednesday.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018