Alex Acker shined with 21 points and 7 rebounds lead Le Mans to its first victory of the competition, 84-60, over still winless EWE Baskets Oldenburg. In a crucial game to keep pace for the Last 16, Le Mans proved better prepared from tip off as its 20-5 start was too much to overcome for the visitors, whose 10 points each by Louis Campbell and Mindaugas Lukauskis were not enough to fuel a comeback. Besides Acker’s stellar night, Le Mans enjoyed double-digit scoring efforts by Ben Dewar, with 11 points, and Antoine Diot, with 10. Le Mans now looks forward to its Week 3 road matchup at Unics Kazan,. Oldenburg, at the bottom of Group A with a 0-2 record, will try to get back in the hunt at home versus BK Banvit.
Le Mans scored 6 straight points before Oldenburg was able to get on the board with a Campbell three-pointer. Le Mans had established Joao Paulo Batista on its first possession, as was the plan, but it was Acker who stole the show with two quick baskets, and the hosts just kept going after that. With some stout defense and strong inside presence, Le Mans forced EWE into 6 first-quarter turnovers and contested shots. All while stretching the floor in the half court offense and moving the ball well, as a balanced attack resulted in a devastating 14-2 run. Predrag Krunic’s team did not seem to have an answer for the host’s lock down defense in the opening quarter, as it finished the period under double digit scoring numbers and quite a mountain to climb, at a 22-8 deficit. It was a valiant effort after that by Oldenburg, as Dewar and Steven Smith traded three-pointers to start the second, but the visitors never got closer than 12 points, as Acker went on offensive rampage mode and scored 12 points in 10 minutes: layups, jumpers, free throws or triples, it didn’t matter to the swingman, who regained his best form to offer an electrifying performance to the home crowd. Up by 41-24 at the break, it looked like smooth sailing for Le Mans after that.
Rickey Paulding quickly let it be known that his team intended to better contest the second half with two quick layups, but Le Mans applied itself to a disciplined time-consuming halfcourt game and Batista and Acker hit consecutive shots to keep distance. The inside-outside combination proved unstoppable for the visitors, who at least did improve offensively, getting Mindaugas Lukauskis involved with a triple that narrowed the gap some to 57-40. Paulding tried to push the tempo and get Campbell some good looks in the post, and a Chris McNaughton layup did keep it at 59-44, but a Dewar three point play and triple ended the quarter again on a high note for the hosts, up by 67-44. With not much more to prove at that juncture, Le Mans head coach Jackson rested his starters in the final quarter and Oldenburg took advantage to make it the only quarter in which it outscored Le Mans.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010