Banvit BK of Turkey took control of its own destiny in Group E by winning a 56-62 defensive battle with winless host Fraport Skyliners in Germany on Tuesday. Banvit now ties Gran Canaria 2014 with 3-2 records, each two victories behind Lokomotiv Kuban of Russia, which already clinched first place. Due to its one-point lead in their head-to-head contests, Banvit must defeat Lokomotiv next week at home or hope that Gran Canaria loses to visiting Fraport in order to take second place and the group's other Last 16 berth. Banvit won a game of runs in Frankfurt, leading by 14 in the first half, but letting Skyliners make a 13-2 run into the second half to make a game of it. The score was 47-48 with 9 minutes left before Chuck Davis and Cliff Hammonds put the visitors in the clear. Hammonds finished with 15 points, Davis 14 and Kenan Bajramovic 11 for the winners. Skyliners had just one double-figure scorer, Jimmy McKinney, and suffered from a 22-33 disadvantage on the boards.
Skyliners jumped ahead 4-1 on baskets by Michael Thomspon and Tim Olbrecht before Banvit woke up, blasting off on a 0-8 run to take a lead that the visitors would never relinquish. Davis was the catalyst, and soon Keith Simmons and Hammonds were draining back-to-back triples for the first double-digit lead, which held at 8-19 after 10 minutes. Simmons made it a high of 8-21 with the second quarter's first basket before Skyliners responded, but not enough. Hammonds restored the double-digit difference midway through the quarter, then it climbed to 16-30 on a layup by Baris Ermis. That, however, is when Skyliners revived. McKinney scored 5 points in a row, Marius Nolte joined him with 4 more and the hosts had cut the largest difference by half, to 25-32, at the break.
The Skyliners comeback got them within 29-32 on a layup by Thompson early in the third quarter. And his next shot, a triple, kept the hosts within 32-36, soon after that. Ermis and Bajramovic threatened another double-digit lead for Banvit before Skyliners surged again in a riveting end to the third quarter. Jacob Burtschi and McKinney sandwiched three-pointers around another by Bajramovic in the final minute to make it a whole new ballgame, 44-46, headed into the final quarter. Burtschi repeated his shot from the arc for the game's closes scoreboard, 47-48, early in the fourth. Two baskets by Davis pulled Banvit back from the brink of losing the lead, but it was a triple by Hammonds and 49-55 that finally let the guests breath easier with under 5 minutes to play. A dunk and another inside basket by Davis lengthened the lead to 51-59 with too little time left for Skyliners to react again. The visitors defense did the rest to assure they would control their own destiny in the final week of the regular season.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011