Strasbourg survives 2OT thriller, reaches Eurocup semifinals
In one of the most intense and thrilling games in Eurocup history, Strasbourg advanced to the Eurocup semifinals after a 91-91 tie against Nizhny Novgorod, in a series that needed two overtimes to determine its winner. Strasbourg had won 85-94 in Russia last week, but Nizhny led 65-74 at the end of regulation and then again 77-86 after 45 minutes. Strasbourg won the series by an aggregate score of 185-176 and will face Dolomiti Energia Trento in the semifinals. Kyle Weems led Strasbourg with 35 points, Rodrigue Beaubois added 17, Mardy Collins 12 and Bangaly Fofana 10 for Strasbourg. Victor Rudd led Nizhny with 26 points, including a wild three-pointer that took the game to a second overtime. Rasid Mahalbasic added 20 and 10 rebounds, Vladimir Ivlev scored 16 points and Dmitriy Khvostov tallied 10 points and 8 assists for the visitors. Mahalbasic and Khvostov shined early and a three-pointer by Evgeny Baburin give Nizhny an 8-14 lead. The guests found a new go-to guy in Ivlev, who had 5 quick points to boost his team's margin to 16-24 after 10 minutes. A layup by Mahalbasic soon put Nizhny ahead in the series, 21-32. Beaubois stepped up with back-to-back three-pointers, but Khvostov and Semen Antonov gave Nizhny a 32-45 lead at halftime. Baburin and Rudd improved the margin to 32-50 soon after halftime. Beaubois and Weems tried to change things for Strasbourg, but three-pointers by Rudd and Khvostov set a 42-60 Nizhny lead, which the hosts cut to 50-64 after 30 minutes. Weems put Strasbourg ahead late in regulation, 65-72, but a layup by Mahalbasic sent the game to overtime. Strasbourg had a 4-point lead in the series with 51 seconds left, but back-to-back triples by Antonov and Rudd forced a second overtime, 77-86, in which Strasbourg prevailed
Mahalbasic got Nizhny going with a jump hook and Khvostov matched Weems's driving basket with a layup for a 2-4 lead. Fofana split free throws and a running triple by Weems put Strasbourg ahead, 6-4. Mahalbasic scored down low and erased Fofana's dunk with a layup to tie it. Khvostov struck from downtown and Baburin beat the shot clock with his own triple to give Nizhny hope at 8-14. Paul Lacombe nailed a five-meter jumper, which Fofana followed with a layup to keep Strasbourg within 12-14. Semen Antonov followed free throws with a layup, but Weems singlehandedly kept the hosts as close as 16-19. Ivlev had 5 unanswered points, including a dunk, to boost Nizhny's lead to 16-24 after 10 minutes. Collins shined with a three-point play early in the second quarter. Rudd hit a one-handed jumper, but Romain Duport finished a four-chance Strasbourg offense with a layup. Mahalbasic followed a driving basket with free throws and soon added a layup to put Nizhny ahead in the series, 21-32. Khvostov capped a 0-8 run with a layup, as Beaubois ignited the crowd with a triple. Baburin and a red-hot Beaubois struck from downtown, but Mahalbasic kept Nizhny way ahead, 27-39. Ivlev followed a jump hook with a floater, but a three-pointer by Weems brought Strasbourg closer, 30-43. Free throws by Louis Campbell and a buzzer-beating jumper by Antonov fixed the halftime score at 32-45.
Baburin hit one from beyond the arc soon after the break and Rudd added a dunk to make it an 18-point game. Beaubois buried a mid-range jumper and Collins shined with a fast break layup to bring Strasbourg within 36-50. Beaubois kept pushing the hosts with a jumper that Mahalbasic erased with a layup. Weems buried a mid-range shot and Collins added a close basket basket, but Rudd stepped up to give Nizhny a 42-57 lead. Khvostov banked in a three-pointer, after which the hosts called timeout at 42-60. Weems joined the three-point shootout and a jump hook by Lacombe brought Strasbourg within 47-60. Rudd and Ivan Strebkov helped Nizhny to a 50-64 margin after 30 minutes. Beaubois hit free throws early in the fourth quarter, but Ivlev did better with a three-pointer. Weems hit a running hook and Beaubois added a layup to make it 56-67 with seven minutes left. Both teams were scoreless for more than three minutes until a dunk by Weems tied the series, 58-67. Fofana scored in penetration to cap an 8-0 Strasbourg run. Mahalbasic stepped up with a layup. Weems buried a big triple, but so did Rudd for a 63-72 lead in the game and a tie in the series with 2 minutes left. After Weems buried a jumper, Mahalbasic scored around the basket, but Strasbourg got the ball back at 65-74 with 21.4 seconds left and Beaubouis missed a driving shot at the buzzer.
Weems hit a one-handed floater in the lane early in overtime. Ivlev split free throws, but an unstoppable Weems buried a six-meter jumper for a 69-75 score – and a 3-point Strasbourg lead in the series. Rudd took over with a wild driving layup that Jeremy Leloup erased with a backdoor basket. Rudd tied the series with a shot from downtown, but free throws by Fofana and a jumper by Collins seemed to seal the outcome of the series at 75-80 with 51 seconds left. But Antonov struck from downtown and Rudd bettered Collins's jumper with a wild triple from the top of the key for a 77-86 score with 4 seconds left. Weems missed from beyond the arc at the buzzer, and the series went to a second overtime.
Collins split free throws early in the second extra period and Lacombe made both attempts for an 80-86 score. A three-pointer by Weems prompted Nizhny to stop the game at 83-86. A free throw by Lacombe made it a 7-point series. Rudd kept trying to change things for Nizhny and an unsportsmanlike foul by Weems allowed Ivlev to get Nizhny within striking distance, 84-91. Baburin's three-point shot went in and out and a triple by Beaubois got the celebration started in Strasbourg. Nizhny ran out of energy and could not even win the game down the stretch, and a big dunk by Weems allowed Strasbourg to seal its series win in style!
Wednesday, March 23, 2016