Spirou Charleroi kept its ULEB Cup dream alive with a Group D road win in Amsterdam on Tuesday, defeating host Ricoh Astronauts 66-77. Charleroi improved its record to 5-4 to join a four-way tie for first place. Astronauts (3-6) are eliminated despite some of the more dramatic wins in this group. The key run came in the first two quarters, when guests were able to make up a seven-point disadvantage and forge the double-digits leads that resisted any Astronaut comebacks throughout the second half. Charleroi was led by Jim Potter, who nailed 16 points and added 8 rebounds. He was followed by Jacque Stas and Andre Riddick, who contributed 14 points each. Roger Huggins added 10 points, all of them important to maintain the lead in the second half. Astronauts, suffering from bad three-point percentage (5 for 23, 22%), had 17 points from top scorer Chris McGuthrie. Forward Joe Spinks followed with a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Ivan Tomeljak added 13 points.
Ricoh Astronauts took early 7 points lead with a little contribution by all the players of the starting five (11-4), but Charleroi did not lose confidence and came back making up point after point. Thanks to Jacque Stas, Belgians reversed the score of the first quarter, and closed it with small one point lead (19-20). Guests deepened the lead in the second quarter, once again thanks to Stas and Jim Potter, who gave double digits contribution in the first 20 minutes (10 and 11 points respectively), closing all the doors in defense and exploiting Vladimir Kuzmanovic's baskets. Charleroi took early double digits lead in the quarter, with initial 0-7 run in the quarter (19-27) and then deepening the gap (25-36) with better field goals (13 for 26, 50% for Spirou, 13 for 32, 41%, for Astronauts), till the 10 points halftime 33-43 lead.
Hosts tried to come back at the beginning of the third period, thanks to McGuthrie and Spinks, but bad three points percentage gave no chance to Astronauts whose attempts to come back were always stopped by Huggins baskets; Astronauts wasn't able to reduce the gap throughout the third period. Charleroi kept the lead reducing the tempo of the game and keeping big lead on rebounds (38-26), and denying hosts to run the break for easy baskets, managing the score till the end and taking the game home without problems, setting the last run 3 minutes before the end (56-70).
Tuesday, January 7, 2003