Its second breathtaking win in days, this one 78-75 at home in the final seconds against last-place Darussafaka, put Chalon a step closer to advancement in the ULEB Cup with just one game remaining in the regular season. Dragan Vukcevic and Udonis Haslem combined for 7 crucial points down the stretch to secure the win for Chalon. The victory lifted Chalon to 4-5 and sole possession of fourth place in Group B while its direct rival, Trieste (3-6), lost at home to Adecco Estudiantes. Nonetheless, Chalon must either win at Krka Novo Mesto next week or hope Trieste loses at Darussafaka. A final tie between the two would not help Chalon, because it lost both games to Trieste. Still, Chalon improved its chances greatly with a last-second victory that mirrored another against Cholet in the French League last weekend. Chalon was led by Stanley Jackson, who nailed 17 points and added 7 rebounds. Haslem followed him with 12 points, Corey Crowder and Laurent Pluvy 11 each, and Casey Calvary 10. Darussafaka, whose record fell to 2-7, got 15 points from Richie Frahm, 14 from newcomer Steve Goodrich, 13 each from Cuneyt Erden and Erdem Turekten, and 12 from Burak Sezgin. The guests took an early eight-point lead, 6-14 after 4 minutes, but Chalon reacted by outscoring the Turkish team 11-0 to take back the lead and to close the first quarter with 5 points to defend, 25-20. Thanks to the power inside the paint, Chalon deepened the lead and the score was 32-25, before Darussafaka rallied again thanks to Sezgin's triples. The Turkish forward nailed 3 three-pointers that led his team a minimum advantage of 39-40 at halftime.
Chalon played great defense in the third quarter, allowing Darussafaka to score only 6 points in the first 7 minutes. Corey Crowder nailed a couple of threes to give the right push to his team, which took back the lead and ran up by 7 points, 53-46, with 3 minutes to go in the period. Chalon was able to keep that same lead at the end of the quarter, 59-52. Chalon exploited the home crowd push and reached double-digit advantages of 12 points twice. But Darussafaka did not surrender and came back with only 3 points to make up. It even took back a lead at 71-72 with 1 minute, 30 seconds left. That's when Vukcevic nailed his 5 consecutive points to make it 76-72. Goodrich answered with 3 points to draw the visitors within 76-75, but as he had against Cholet, Haslem scored the last basket that made Chalon's fans celebrate the win.
Tuesday, January 7, 2003