Besiktas Cola Turka rallied from 18 points behind to defeat visiting STB Le Havre of France 96-91 at home in Istanbul on Tuesday in what was their last Eurocup games this season, as both had been previously eliminated in Group C. Besiktas finished in third place with a 3-3 record while Le Havre finished 0-6 as one of two winless teams in the regular season. Jimmy Baxter exploded for 33 points to lead the winners, including 7 in a row late in the third quarter to put Besiktas ahead for good. Mire Chatman added 20 points for the winners, Haluk Yildirim 18, including 6 three-point shots, and Adem Oren a near triple-double of 17 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Le Havre, which went hard trying to get a first win, got 25 points from T.J. Thompson, 23 from Marcus Slaughter, 19 from Bingo Merriex and 11 from Fabien Causeur.
Le Havre had a fine start in the game and offensively rose up minute by minute in the first quarter. After falling behind 8-4 on an early three-pointer by Baxter, the French side found a rhythm in the fast game and shot ahead 10-12 in a couple minutes ended with Merriex blasting his own shot from downtown. Le Havre rolled from there to a 27-30 first-quarter advantage and controlled the rest of the half, too. Even though Dennis Mims tied for Besiktas at 34-34 with a layup early in the second quarter, Thompson answered from long range to start another fire under visitors. Inded, that sparked a 2-15 run by Le Havre as its lead increased to 36-49 on a basket by Slaughter. He would be back with late layup to preserve Le Havre's 42-54 with halftime edge. When Thompson comes out from the break and downed consecutive three-pointers, Le Havre's lead had skyrocketed to 18 points, at 42-60. Then, however, a stronger defensive attitude by Besiktas started to match its offensive show until then and the combination resulted in a takeover move. Yildirim gave momentum to the hosts with a triple that Chatman soon copied. That duo quickly put the game in comeback made, as within 3 minutes, Chatman had Besiktas within 56-60. The hosts had caught fire now as Muratcan Guler, Baxter and Oren joined Yildirim and Chatman to make carry the rally to fruition. The hosts' six-minute, 18-point comeback was complete when Oren's layup supplied the go-ahead points, after which Baxter's 7 straight points made it 70-63. The total run had been 28-3 in 8 minutes for Besiktas, which entered the last quarter ahead by 70-67. The tide continued as Besiktas took advantage of Le Havre's defensive problems to lengthen the lead to 14 points, 83-69, after 33 minutes. Slaughter and Merriex points in the remaining minutes only helped to reduce the gap for French side as Besiktasended the regular season of Eurocup with a 96-91 victory.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Gokhan Ture, Istanbul