Aris holds off Steaua's comeback to go up 3-1 in Group D
Aris Thessaloniki improved to 3-1 in Group D by edging Steaua CSM EximBank Bucharest 70-66 at home on Wednesday. Aris ties for first place in Group D while Steaua dropped to 1-3. Okaro White led the winners with 15 points. Jake Cohen added 12, including a clutch three-point shot that sealed the outcome with 13 seconds left. Gerald Lee led Steaua with 14 points. Aleksandar Rasic added 12 while Marko Marinovic and Titus Nicoara each had 10 for the guests. Aris led 23-12 after 10 minutes and extended its margin to 42-25 at halftime. Marinovic, Lee and Rasic stepped up for Steaua, allowing the guests to get as close as 50-49 after 30 minutes. A layup by Bill Amis completed Steaua's comeback, 54-55, with 5 minutes left. Steaua led 60-63 but a 7-0 run which Cohen capped with a clutch triple allowed Aris to win the game down the stretch.
Jamelle Hagins got Aris going with free throws and Michalis Pelekanos soon gave the hosts a 4-0 lead. Chris Cooper stepped up with a put-back basket and Nicoara found his first points but White kept Aris ahead, 8-4. Gerald Lee scored down low but Spytos Mourtos had 5 points in a 7-0 run which boosted the hosts' lead to 15-6. Lee scored again but a three-by Theodoros Zaras made it a double-digit game, 18-8. Rasic made free throws and found Lee for another basket but Slaven Cupkovic and Cohen kept Aris way ahead, 23-12, after 10 minutes. Zaras scored again early in the second quarter and Cupkovic added a put-back basket but Nicoara and Denis Ikovlev kept Steaua within 27-17. Cohen kept pacing Aris with consecutive baskets, as the hosts controlled the game with outstanding defense. Meanwhile, White allowed Aris to break the game open, 35-18. White and Rasic exchanged triples and Hagins took over with an alleyoop slam, good for a 40-23 Aris margin. Free throws by Lee, White and Bill Amis fixed the halftime score at 42-25.
Lee, Ikovlev and Marinovic combined for all points in a 0-7 run which brought Steaua back to life, 42-32, right after the break. Pelekanos tried to change things with a three-pointer but Marinovic answered from downtown and Levente Szijarto brought the guests within single digits, 45-37. Marinovic insisted from beyond the arc and Lee soon made it a three-point game, 45-42. Vassilis Xanthopoulos, Cohen and Jerel McNeal made free throws but Ikovlev and Rasic kept Steaua within 50-46. A free throw by Ikovlev and a basket by Amis brought Steaua even closer, 50-49, at the end of the third quarter. White nailed an off-balance turnaround jumper early in the fourth quarter which Rasic matched witha six-meter shot. Hagins scored down low, Rasic buried yet another jumper off the dribble and a layup by Amis completed Steaua's wild comeback, 54-55, with 7 minutes left. Amis finished a three-chance Steaua offense with a jumper that McLean erased at the other end. Nicoara scored down low but back-to-back layups by McLean put Aris back ahead, 60-59. Nicoara hit another up-and-under layup and Lee gave Steaua a 60-63 edge with 3 minutes to go. White hit foul shots and a jumper by Mourtos restored a 64-63 Aris lead with a minute left. A three-pointer by Cohen sealed the outcome, 67-63, with 13 seconds left. Waters hit 3-of-4 free throws in crunch time to keep Aris safe for good.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015