ALBA claims 22-point win in EuroLeague return
ALBA Berlin celebrated its first Turkish EuroLeague game in five years in with a resounding 85-63 win over Zenit St. Petersburg in front of their home crowd at Mercedes-Benz Arena Berlin on Friday. The Russian side were playing their first EuroLeague game ever and will have learned a lot from their first outing in the competition. For the home side, Landry Nnoko led them with 16 points and 5 rebounds in an energetic man of the match display. Marcus Eriksson scored 15 points, Berlin and EuroLeague debutant Tyler Cavanaugh had 11 while Niels Giffey scored 10. The visitors were helped by Will Thomas's 14-point , 8-rebound effort. Tim Abromaitis had 22 points.
Zenit exploded into an early 0-5 lead but Eriksson responded with 5 points of his own for the hosts to level the score. Thomas was on fire in that first quarter though and had 9 early to give the visitors as 9-13 lead. ALBA took their first lead of the game when Giffey landed a three late in the quarter to leave the score at 17-15. The hosts extended that to 24-18 with a Jonas Mattisseck three and another Giffey score, which is how that opening 10 would end. Berlin were outworking the visitors and Tim Schneider scored on the back of a steal to leave the score at 26-18 to start the second period. Gustavo Ayon scored consecutive lay-ups to reduce the deficit but Giffey, again from three, pushed the home side ahead by seven. They exchanged points in a game that was really bursting to life but ALBA managed to keep their nose in front throughout that second quarter. That was helped by a 15-4 run to end the half as the hosts turned the screw and left the score 47-31 at the break. Zenit’s task grew even taller when Berlin increased their lead to 22 early in the third and showed no signs of slowing down. Zenit nibbled away at the lead and got it down to 17, but with Tyler Cavanaugh and Eriksson on point from beyond the arc, it was proving too hard to keep pace with the surging home side. ALBA carried a commanding lead of 17 into the final quarter as the score sat at 67-50 at the end of three. It was a lead that they would not relinquish. Abromaitis hit 5 points to reduce the deficit to 14 as he gave the visitors some hope. ALBA were in no mood to entertain thoughts of a comeback, however, as they got it back to 17 midway through the final quarter. They extended the lead to 24, the largest of the night, as time ran out on Zenit's challenge. It would end 85-65 with ABLA laying down a marker early in the new EuroLeague season.
Landry Nnoko was his team's top scorer with 16 points, and had 7 rebounds, too, as the home side dominated the boards. He was a perfect 7 for 7 from the field and 2 for 2 at the foul line. He didn’t miss a single shot in his first-ever EuroLeague game.
Berlin enjoyed a 15-4 run at the end of the first half, which gave them the foundation for their comfortable win. The game before that was end-to-end but that knocked the wind out of Zenit and the hosts never took a backwards step in the second half.
Did you notice?
Tyler Cavanaugh needed just 17:13 to scored 11 points as he put in a stellar performance in his first EuroLeague game. He didn't start the game but impressed off the bench and has put his name into the mix for more minutes next week. He also had 6 rebounds.
ALBA play Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Friday, October 11, in their first away game of the season. It doesn’t get much easier for Zenit as they welcome FC Barcelona to Sibur Arena on the same night.
Friday, October 4, 2019