ASVEL rallies to edge Panathinaikos
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne rallied from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge visiting Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 79-78 on Thursday night. ASVEL improved to 2-0 in its first EuroLeague season in a decade, while Panathinaikos dropped to 1-1. The Greens led for the majority of the night with the lead reaching as many as 13 points on several occasions, including 50-63 after three quarters. But David Lighty sparked ASVEL's comeback and Charles Kahudi finished it. Jordan Taylor hit the game-winning free throw and ASVEL made one last defensive stand to prompt huge celebrations at the Astroballe. Lighty finished with 18 points, while Tonye Jekiri amassed 15 points plus 12 rebounds. Charles Kahudi netted 10 points in the victory. DeShaun Thomas had 22 points and 6 rebounds for Panathinaikos, Jimmer Fredette netted 18 and Nick Calathes had 13 points and 8 assists.
Panathinaikos had a triple from Fredette and a triple-plus-foul from Thomas to take a slim lead, but Jekiri scored 7 points to keep ASVEL at 13-13. Calathes and Thomas kept the Greens with a slim lead, but Lighty scored 5 points, including a triple that made it 22-22 after 10 minutes. ASVEL went in front early in the second as Edwin Jackson hit a tough jumper and Lighty a transition three-pointer to make it 34-30. But 3 more three-pointers from Panathinaikos - one banked in by Thomas, one from Calathes and an off-balance buzzer-beater from Tyrese Rice gave the visitors a 40-46 halftime lead. The margin reached double figures early in the third quarter on a triple from Fredette and a fastbreak layup from Ioannis Papapetrou, 42-55. The tempo and the scoring pace slowed down in the second half as Jordan Taylor ended ASVEL's drought of almost 5 minutes without a field goal. The visitors kept their double-digit lead behind their defense and mostly from the free-throw line. Panathinaikos took a 50-63 lead into the final quarter, but Lighty needed 33 seconds at the start of the fourth to hit a jumper and a triple before a three from Taylor cut the difference to 58-63. A three-point play from Thomas snapped an 8-0 run before the two teams went scoreless for almost 4 minutes. But a three-point from Rihards Lomazs and a three-point play from Lighty cut it to 68-71 with 3:21 to go. Fredette hit a corner triple and Thomas fought for a put-back to keep Panathinaikos with breathing room, but just briefly. Kahudi hit a pair of corner triples, including one with 53 seconds to go to tie it at 78-78. Taylor split free throws with 14 seconds left to put ASVEL in front for the first time since the second quarter. ASVEL made one more defensive stand to pull out a memorable victory.
When threes started to fall
ASVEL shot just 2 for 15 from three-point land in the first three quarters, but made 5 of 7 shots in the fourth: 1 from each David Lighty, Jordan Taylor and Rihards Lomazs, and 2 from Charles Kahudi.
A tale of two halves
ASVEL considers defense one of its main strengths, but Panathinaikos scored 46 points in the first half behind Nick Calathes, who dished 7 assists before halftime. In the second half, however, ASVEL held the visitors to just 32 points and allowed Calathes only 1 assist.
Never stop rebounding
ASVEL had 18 offensive rebounds and that is one thing that kept ASVEL in the game. Even when the team was down by double digits, it kept charging the offensive glass. The hosts missed a lot of shots, but pulled down 16 offensive boards in the first three quarters before shots finally started falling more frequently in the final frame.
Enchanted free throw line
Panathinaikos really hurt itself by making17 turnovers, with 7 of those coming from Calathes, but also by making just 14 of 27 free throws. That made a huge difference in a 1-point loss. Interestingly, last week Olympiacos Piraeus did not do much better when playing ASVEL, making 15 of 23. The free-throw line at the Astroballe is making it difficult for the visiting teams.
After opening the season with two home games, ASVEL will be on the road in Round 3, visiting FC Bayern Munich on Thursday. That same day, Panathinaikos will host AX Armani Exchange Milan.
Thursday, October 10, 2019