Asesoft prevails in a classic, secures a Last 32 spot
CSU Asesoft Ploiesti punched its ticket to the Last 32 in style, with a double-overtime 110-112 road win over Hapoel Jerusalem on Wednesday. Asesoft improved to 5-4 record in a share of the third place in Group E, while Jerusalem dropped to 2-7 and has been eliminated. Asesoft entered the game needing a win, or a loss by up to 9 points, to progress. It held a double-digit lead on several occasions, and had a control of the game in the fourth quarter before Donta Smith, who had a triple-double, and Jerusalem’s late rally sent the game into overtime. In the extra sessions, the hosts were aiming to force more overtime(s) until they feel they have a chance to win by 9 points. In the second overtime, back-to-back threes from Bracey Wright and Bar Timor made it 106-100, but Dragan Labovic scored 6 key points, and then made a steal in the dying seconds to prevent the game from going into the third extra session, and securing the win for the visitors. Gerald Lee led Asesoft with 24 points, Dee Brown had 21 on 5-for-10 three-point shooting, while Jarvis Hayes had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Marius Runkauskas also netted 16, Labovic finished with 15, and Jonte Flowers had 10 in victory. Smith had a triple-double of 16 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds, and also had 4 blocks and 3 steals with performance index rating 40 in defeat. Wright scored 24 on 5 of 8 from three-point range, Lior Eliyahu had 17, Pops Mensah-Bonsu 15 points, Derwin Kitchen scored 13 with 9 rebounds, and Timor netted 10 for Jerusalem.
Lior Eliyahu scored first 8 points for the hosts, but baskets from Gerald Lee and a triple from Jonte Flowers helped the visitors to 8-9. Eurocup’s assists leader Dee Brown orchestrated Asesoft’s offense, dishing assists for a dunk from Christopher Cooper, a triple from Runkauskas before scoring on a fast break for 13-20 late in the first quarter. Three-pointers from Brown and Runkauskas made it 15-26 early in the second, before Pops Mensah-Bonsu scored 8 consecutive points and Bar Timor added a three-pointer for 28-34. However, Lee and Runkauskas did not allow hosts and cloer, and Jarvis Hayes helped with a triple and a jumper to give the visitors 38-45 halftime margin.
After the break, a basket from Dragan Labovic and a pair from Lee extended it to 40-51, but Eliyahu and Derwin Kitchen helped Jerusalem close to 50-56. Brown answered with a back-to-back triples to extend it to 12 points, 50-62, and after baskets from Joseph Jones for the hosts, Michalis Pelekanos knocked down a triple to help make it 59-67 going into the fourth period. Hayes assisted Brown on a triple, and Lee on a jumper for 61-72 Asesoft lead, but Kitchen and Bar kept Hapoel with hope before a triple from Bracey Wright and a put-back from Tony Gaffney helped cut it to 71-72. Runkauskas and Wright traded triples, and the visitors held a slim margin as the final minute of the regulation was approaching. A dunk-plus-free throw from Hayes gave Asesoft 78-82, and after Kitchen hit a shot for Jerusalem, split free throws from both Lee and Hayes of Asesoft, allowed Donta Smith to score on a fastbreak, then sink a pair from the foul line with 8.2 seconds left in the regulation, making it 84-84 and sending the game in overtime.
The extra sessions started with Hayes hitting a three-pointer and Asesoft scoring the first 5 points, but Gaffney had free throws and a layup, before a three from Smith gave the hosts 91-89. Jerusalem needed a 9-point win to keep its Last 32 hopes alive, and Asesoft went in front 93-96 with a wide open layup and a triple from Labovic, but Wright nailed a second-chance three-pointer with 10 second to go in the first overtime to send the game into the second extra session, 96-96. Back-to-back threes from Wright and Timor made it 106-100, but Asesoft scored on the next three possessions, with Labovic making a pair of baskets and Flowers knocking down a tough triple for 106-107. After a series of free throws, Asesoft ended up leading 110-112 with 8 seconds to play, and Hapoel with a chance to send the game into third OT. Ball went to Smith’s hands, but Labovic stripped the ball away from Smith, securing Asesoft a win and its first-ever ticket to the next stage.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014