Efes rallies late to edge ASVEL
Anadolu Efes Istanbul got back to its winning ways with a hard-fought 72-68 win over visiting LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in a rescheduled Round 5 game on Tuesday night. The win improved Efes's record to 7-5, while ASVEL dropped to 3-8 on the season. Efes seemed in control and led by 13 points early in the third quarter, but the visitors used their zone defense to disrupt Efes's rhythm and confidence in rallying with a 6-22 run to take a 50-53 lead early in the fourth. ASVEL also led 57-63 with less than 4 minutes left, but Efes stepped up defensively to answer with a 13-2 run to pull out the victory. Vasilije Micic had 22 points to pace Efes and Larkin scored 18 points. Bryant Dunston added 13 for the winners. David Lighty and William Howard scored 14 apiece for ASVEL, Amine Noua had 11 points, and Kevarrius Hayes delivered 8 rebounds and a club-record 6 blocks in defeat.
Micic and Guerschon Yabusele traded three-pointers before Dunston and Moustapha Fall exchanged dunks. Back-to-back threes from Charles Kahudi and Antoine Diot made it 9-12 midway through the first quarter. The scoring slowed down after a timeout, but Noua hit a triple for the visitors and nailed a step-back baseline jumper just before the buzzer to make it 13-19 after 10 minutes. However, Efes needed 100 seconds and a 6-0 run to tie the game with baskets from Tibor Pleiss and James Anderson. Noua and Yabusele had big dunks for the visitors, but Pleiss, Micic and Dunston fueled another Efes run. The hosts entered the final minute of the second quarter with a 10-point advantage before Fall and Noua cut it to 33-27 at halftime.
Larkin got Efes going after the break by scoring a runner and a three-point play before he and Micic slalomed to the rim on back-to-back possessions to open a 44-31 decision. However, Yabusele knocked down a triple and Hayes delivered a pair of blocks, the latter of which led to a transition triple by Howard to cut the deficit to 44-39. A three from Diot got ASVEL within a single point, but Larkin scored a last-second three-point-play to make it 48-44 going into the fourth quarter. The visitors' charge continued as they used defensive traps deep in the Efes half of the court and then dropped into a zone defense that the hosts had no answers for. Noua hit a jumper and Diot fed Howard for a layup before Lighty knocked down a triple-plus foul to make it 50-53. Adrien Moerman had a tough runner and a badly needed triple for Efes, but 5 points from Howard, including a triple, made it 57-63 with 3:47 to go. However, Efes never stopped going inside and it paid off with Dunston powering in a baseline layup and Micic driving for a layup-plus-foul before Larkin took it to the rim to put Efes up 66-65 going into the final minute. On the other end, Efes did not allow a field goal in the final 4 minutes of the game and Larkin and Micic sealed the outcome from the foul line./p>
ASVEL dominated with 15 offensive rebounds compared to 8 by Efes and held a 6-point lead with 4 minutes to go. But Efes got control of the boards by putting a big lineup of Dustin Bryant, Adrien Moerman and Chris Singleton together on the floor for the opportunity to attack in transition. It led to a 13-2 run that decided the game.
Efes won despite making 2 triples on 9 attempts. This game marked only the fourth time this century Efes attempted fewer than 10 three-pointers. Efes also dished just 8 assists, its fewest since March 2016.
ASVEL's rookie big man Kevarrius Hayes entered this game with 3 blocked shots for the season, but he had that many in the third quarter alone. Hayes had his first block of the game in the first quarter, then deliver 3 in the third, and two more in the fourth to set the ASVEL club record. It was also the most by any player in a single game since Ekpe Udoh had 7 in February 2016.
Shane Larkin entered the game with 1,499 career points and reached the 1,500-point milestone with a driving layup late in the first quarter. Larkin needed 99 games to achieve this feat, as he is averaging 15.3 points per game for his career, fourth-best among the active players.
Both teams have another game this week in Round 13. Efes will be in action again on Thursday when it visits Valencia Basket, while ASVEL will travel to face FC Bayern Munich on Friday.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020