Telindus Oostende made sure the suspense remains in Group C by knocking off host Alba 65-66 on the road in Berlin, Germany on Tuesday. Both teams are now 3-5 and tied for fifth place, while three different teams – Khimki, Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem and Lukoil Academic – sit a victory ahead of them, tied for second place, with two regular season games remaining. The second-, third- and fourth-place teams at the end will advance to the elimination rounds. Lavor Postell's free throws in the waning seconds won it for Oostende, as did Eric Hicks blocking a game-winning layup try by Julius Jenkins for Alba, which had led by up to 5 points midway through the final quarter. Hicks led the winners with 22 points and 9 rebounds, while Postell scored 17 and Rashad Wright 14. Elvir Ovcina also pulled down 13 rebounds for Oostende. William Avery was the big gun for Alba with 21 points, while Chris Owens downed 18 and Jenkins 10. Sharrod Ford grabbed 10 rebounds for Alba.
Both teams started the game slow. Wright opened the scoring with a free throw and a jumper, before Owens and Avery scored Alba's first baskets. The Berlin defense gave Oostende few easy shots, but the visitors cleaned up on the offensive glass, earning several second- chance baskets. Postell scored 7 points for an 8-12 lead, answered by two baskets by Owens. Oostende switched to zone defense, which was killed by two Alba three-pointers by Johannes Herber and Jenkins. Ruben Boumtje Boumtje's layup broadened Alba's lead to 18-14 at the end of the first quarter. Nicolai Simon opened the second quarter with another triple to put Alba ahead 21-14, but Oostende remained in its zone and Alba started to struggle on offense, missed shots from outside and found no way to involve the interior players. On the other end, Hicks with 5 points helped Alba to a 23-24 lead, before Alba's Ford finished Alba's drought with a mid-range jumper. Owens hustled inside for a layup, Jenkins stole the ball and finished a fast break for a 29-24 Alba lead. After an Alba timeout, the team switched to zone defense, too, which Postell answered immediately with a triple. Hicks, Ford and Ovcina exchanged some free throws, before Nenad Canak's jumper made the halftime score to 32-29.
The second half started for Alba bad with more missed shots and the third fouls of Koko Archibong and Owens. Oostende used Wright, Guy Muya, Hicks and Postell to roll ahead 32-37 before Jenkins scored Alba's first points of the third quarter on an offensive rebound. Both teams went on performing poor offensively, but Avery got hot at the end of the quarter with a pair of triples. Then Alba's point guard scored after a steal and added a free throw to make it 45-44 after 30 minutes. In the fourth quarter, the game finally became interesting for fans of spectacular offense. Owens drove for points, so did Hicks, whose slam dunk made it 52-49. Avery added two more huge triples to put Alba ahead 59-54. Wright tied the game at 64-64. A minute later Wright missed a crucial triple, but Avery became the tragic hero of the game for Alba, when he missed two free throws with 8 seconds on the clock. Postell's two free-throws for 65-66 were good for Oostende's win, as Jenkins went for a last lay-up, but was blocked by Hicks.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006