With just two games left in the Last 16, DKV Joventut became the exclusive leader of Group I when it outlasted visiting Le Mans 80-73 on Tuesday in Badalona, Spain. Joventut now has a 3-1 record, one victory more than both Aris BSA and Alba Berlin, while Le Mans is at the bottom of the table with a 1-3 record. After an even first half ended with Joventut getting a slim 48-46 advantage, the third quarter was all defense as the teams split only 15 points between them. The fourth quarter was all suspense as Dewarick Spencer tied 68-68 for Le Mans, but Joventut reacted with a 12-5 run to decide the outcome. Clay Tucker led the winners with 17 points, 8 of them posted in the last quarter. Pere Tomas added 12 and David Jelinek had 10. Spencer led all the scorers with 22 points but he went 0 for 5 from three-point distance. JP Batista amassed a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds for Le Mans, while Maleye Ndoye contributed 12 points and Anotine Diot 10.
Luka Bogdanovic opened the fire from beyond the arc for Joventut before Batista answered with 5 points in a row for Le Mans. Mario Fernandez gave a new 7-5 advantage to Joventut, but the teams exchanged leads until David Jelinek tied at 16-16 with a rocket from long distance. Thierry
Rupert put Le Mans in front again and Diot kept the guests there with a triple worth a 21-23
lead after 10 minutes. Jelinek remained on fire with another triple to start
the second quarter, but Maleye Ndoye showed all his skills scoring 8 consecutive points as Le Mans led 28-30. The game remained balanced with
Christian Eyenga tying again on 30-30, Tucker and Kristaps Valters with 3 shots from downtown returned a 39-36 edge to Joventut, while
Batista kept his side on track from the free throw line. Spencer put
Le Mans in front again 39-40 after scoring 4 free throws, then the
lead changed hands seven times in the last 3 minutes of the second quarter before Tucker's free throw fixed a 48-46 halftime score in Joventut's favor.
Back from the lockers, Tomas ended 3 scoreless minutes from long distance to raise Joventut's margin to 51-46, Batista scored free
throws for Le Mans, but the defenses remained dominant on both sides for several minutes. Edu Hernandez-Sonseca finally scored in the paint for the hosts, then Alain
Koffi nailed a free throws for the game's biggest lead yet, 54-48. A three-pointer of Charles Kahudi and two easy points for Josep
Franch moved the score before Rupert made it 56-53 after 30 minutes. Zack Wright slammed in the ball early in the last quarter to get Le Mans within 56-55. Tomas with another dunk and Tucker with a three-pointer restored a six-point Joventut difference, 65-59, with 5 minutes left. Batista pushed
Le Mans with a three-point-play, Franch answered on the break and Spencer
put Le Mans closer still at 67-66, forcing a Joventut timeout. Spencer completed the Le Mans surge by forging a 68-68 tie with free throws, but then Tucker matched him and added a triple in a 6-0 run that gave Joventut a 74-68 advantage
entering in the last minute. After that, Fernandez was perfect scoring 4 of 4 free throw tries before Tomas sealed Joventut's first-place takeover win with a dunk on the
buzzer that promised the home fans more big games ahead.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010