CAI Zaragoza holds off Nancy for important road win
CAI Zaragoza registered its first road win of the season, holding off winless SLUC Nancy 76-78 on Wednesday. CAI improved to 2-1 in a share of third place in Group C, while Nancy has three defeats in as many games to start the competition. CAI took the lead for good late in the third quarter, then used baskets from Isaac Fotu in the fourth to build 63-72 lead. Benjamin Sene led Nancy's rally, but the visitors held on. Joan Sastre netted 21 points in victory, Nate Linhart had 13, Henk Norel collected 12 points and 7 rebounds, while Fotu finished with 10 for CAI. Tomas Bellas did not score, but dished 10 assists. For Nancy, Javon McCrea had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Florent Pietrus also scored 18. Sene had 12 points, with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in a losing effort.
With Sastre scoring 9 points, and Linhart adding a triple, CAI went in front 6-14 in the first quarter. Sene hit a triple to get Nancy going, and Pietrus followed with a pair of baskets for 13-18. Sene hit another three to start second quarter, and buckets from Bandja Sy and McCrea cut the deficit to 20-22. After Robin Benzing and Alando Tucker traded three-pointers, baskets from Pietrus and McCrea tied it at 29-29, before a three-pointer from Morris Curry put Nancy in front 32-31. Stevan Jelovac and Norel scored on one side, while Curry, Pietrus and Tucker added to the tally on the other for 39-35, before Linhart's three-point play at the buzzer made it 39-38 at halftime.
Sastre and Linhart hit back-to-back from downtown, and Norel's basket made it 41-48 after 3 minutes of the third quarter. But Pietrus and McCrea cut the deficit, and Sy hit from long range for 51-50. Benzing and Andy Panko traded triples, before Halil Kanacevic and Sastre helped the visitors to 56-59 late in the third. Linhart opened the fourth with a basket, missed a free throw but Fotu scored a put-back for 58-63. Pietrus and McCrea closed the gap to a single point, but Fotu had a three-point play on the next trip down the floor, before Sastre had a basket-plus-foul of his own, and Fotu nailed a three-pointer to cap a 1-9 run for 63-72. After a timeout, Pietrus, Sene and McCrea cut the deficit to 3 points, but Jelovac made 3 of 4 from the foul line. In the final minute, Norel scored for 72-77, but Sene hit a triple to give the hosts some hope. Jelovac split free throws for 75-78, and Nancy had its last chance when Sene hit first then missed second free throw on purpose in the final seconds, but CAI held on.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015