Before its own fans, SIG Basket Strasbourg wrote a brilliant page in its history book on Thursday by registering its first-ever Euroleague victory, 90-82 over Union Olimpija in Group A. Strasbourg's record improved to 1-3 in Group A, a victory above still-winless Olimpija. Alvin Young led the winners with 26 points, and his last 5 capped a 7-0 final run that sealed the outcome. Ricardo Greer had 17 points on 11 of 12 free throws while Aymeric Jeanneau scored 11 for Strasbourg, who were without center John McCord tonight. Teemu Rannikko led Olimpija with 20 points.Yotam Halperin and Jimmy Oliver each had 14, Vedran Morovic scored 12 points and Szymon Szewczyk 10 for the guests. Young had 15 points in the opening quarter to give Strasbourg a 31-19 lead that Olimpija reduced throughout the game, drawing within 83-82 with less than 3 minutes to go. Ricardo Greer made free throws and Young a big three-pointer to give the Strasbourg fans a first taste of Euroleague triumph.
Strasbourg started the game at full speed, as Young followed Palmer's turnaround jumper with a triple for a 5-1 opening lead. A three-point play by Jeanneau ignited a 7-0 run which Zelly Wesson capped with a basket for a 14-5 Strasbourg lead, as Rannikko had briefly left the game due to an injury. Halperin tried to wake the guests up with a three-pointer and Oliver added another one from downtown to bring Olimpija within 18-13. It didn't last long, as Young had 4 points in a 7-0 run which pushed the hosts' lead to double digits, 25-13. Olimpija struggled in defense, entering the foul bonus too early and allowing too many easy baskets. Meanwhile, Young took over with consecutive baskets and Ricardo Greer added free throws to make Strasboutg get a 31-19 lead after 10 minutes. Young already had 15 points.
Ondrej Starosta followed Jeff Greer's three with consecutive baskets which made it a 16-point game, 38-22, as Olimpija looked for answers in both end of the court. Remon Van de Hare scored in the paint, but an outstanding Ricardo Greer had 5 quick point to give Strasbourg its biggest margin of the night at 45-24. That's when Olimpija started its comeback, as a big basket by Rannikko ignited a 0-12 run which he capped with a basket-plus-foul and in which Morovic scored from downtown, enough to bring the guests within 45-36. Strasbourg went scoreless for more than 2 minutes and its fans had already started to wonder, but Palmer came to the rescue with 2 foul shots while Jackson buried a three-pointer to boost the hosts' margin to 50-38 before Rannikko fixed the score at 50-40 as both teams headed to the locker rooms.
Olimpija came back after the break with outstanding defense, making Strasbourg go scoreless for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, Szewczyk stepped up with a key basket and Rannikko simply took over with back-to-back three-pointers which brought Olimpija back into the game, 50-48, after 22 minutes. It didn't last long, as Young - who else? - came to the rescue for the hosts with consecutive baskets, good for a 54-48 Strasbourg lead. It didn't last long, as an unsportsman foul on Halperin and a long jumper by Szewczyk kept Olimpija alive, 54-52. Even when Olimpija did not score in the next couple of minutes, Halperin found spce to nail a triple which made it a three-point game, 58-55, after 26 minutes. Ricardo Greer drew a foul and made both shots, but Olimpija found a go-to guy in Morovic, who followed a three with another basket to tie the game at 60-60. Jeanneau came to the rescue for Strasbourg, as he made free throws and a dded a big triple for a 65-60 edge at the end of the third quarter.
Starosta made free throws for a 69-62 Strasbourg lead, but Oliver nailed a triple to keep Olimpija close with 8 minutes to go. Giffa nailed a long two-pointer from the left corner and soon added a five-meter jumper to make it an eight-point game, 73-65. Szewczyk tried to change things with a short hook, but Jackson matched that with a running layup to keep Strasbourg ahead. Morovic came to the rescue for Olimpija with a driving layup and a six-meter jumper for a 75-71 deficit, but Young made free throws and Wesson worked his way in the low post to restore a safe Strasbourg margin, 79-71. Olimpija took too many three-pointers but it finally paid off. Oliver fired in one from downtown and added a wide open triple from the right wing to keep Olimpija alive at 83-77. Rannikko buried a seven-meter three to get Olimpija within striking distance and Halperin scored off a steal to turn the game into a thriller, 83-82, already in the final 2 minutes. It didn't last long, as Ricardo Greer made free throws while Young sealed the win with a corner three and a four-meter jumper which allowed all Strasbourg fans to celebrate their team's first-ever Euroleague win!
Thursday, November 24, 2005