Caprabo Lleida is 99 percent in the next round after dropping Astronauts of of Amsterdam 89-67 on Tuesday in Group D. Lleida could still face a theoretical elimination based on point differentials, but currently has all the advantages even if it doesn't win anymore and goes into multiple-team ties. The win improves Lleida's record to 5-3 in Group D, while the Astronauts drop to 3-5. Lleida took care of business in the second half behind Manel Bosch, who came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points with 100% in shooting: 3-for-3 two-pointers, 3-for-3 threes and 6-for-6 free throws. Alberto Angulo and Johnny Rogers added 14 apiece and Michael Ruffin added 13, while A. J. Bramlett contributed 9 points and 11 boards. In the first half, the Astronauts were there mainly thanks to scoring ace Chris McGuthrie, who was literally, half of the contribution of his team on his way to 26 points total. Zvonimir Ridl added 11 and Koen Rouwhorst 10.
Lleida had no difficulties at all in jumping to a quick 5-0 lead that became 9-3 soon. The Astronauts didn't know how to move the ball, but Lleida did nt manage to take advantage of all those facilities provided by the guests. A 7-metre three by Chris McGuthrie could do nothing to stop the hosts, leading by 13-6 when Geoffrey Bolton called for the first timeout. The Astronauts tried to solve their problems with systematic attempts from 6.25, but most of them didn't go in. At the same time. Alberto Angulo emerged as the scoring leader of his team with 6 of those 13 points. Roger Grimau was called a technical foul, and from that point, the guests hit for 18-15 quick thanks to the efficiency of McGuthrie, who hit another three in the final seconds of the period for 21-18 after 10 minutes. Lleida started the second quarter stronger, trying to avoid to commit the mistakes of the first quarter, and soon took a maximum lead of 8 points, 31-23, but McGuthrie again, was there from downtown to keep his team close. At that point, it looked like neither team wanted to take the decisive step, Lleida to pull away, or Astronauts to jump ahead, hence, things stayed the same. Michael Ruffin hit the layup for 40-34, and McGuthrie scored his 18th point for 40-36. A last-second miss by Johnny Rogers sent the teams to the locerrooms with a 40-38 edge for Lleida.
Despite the Astronauts grabbing a quick two-point lead, the second half would show a completely different face as Lleida took control of he game easily, due to two factors, The first was Manel Bosch, who stepped on court at that point to hit 10 points in the period, including 2 straight threes. The second was the obesssion of the Astronauts to shoot from the three-point line, and miss. The second three by Bosch made it 58-50 and proved that the atmosphere of the game had changed. Soon, 3 points by Johnny Rogers put an end to the third period, 63-52. The last quarter was only a prolongation of the third, with the host team pulling away through threes, and the Astronauts without McGuthrie, who was well-defended in the second half of the game by Roger Grimau. Bosch scored his 15th point in the game for 75-62, while the guests kept insisting from the arc to end the game with 8 of 36. As those shots kept missing, Lleida cruised to the win.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002