Pamesa Valencia improved its chances to reach the Eurocup Final Eight from Last 16 Group K for the second consecutive season by edging Azovmash Mariupol 68-66 at home on Tuesday. Pamesa Valencia improved to 3-1 and ties for first place in Group K with Hemofarm Stada. Pamesa will advance to the Final Eight with one more win in any of its remaining games and will win Group K no matter what if it beats Hemofarm in Vrsac, Serbia in Week 6. Meanwhile, Azovmash dropped to 1-3 and must win its upcoming Week 5 game against Hemofarm to keep its Final Eight chances alive. Matt Nielsen led the winners with 19 points. Rafa Martinez added 13, including the game-winning free throws with 20 seconds to go, while Shammond Williams had 11 for Pamesa. Serhiy Lishchuk had 17 points on 8-for-8 two-pointers to lead Azovmash while Richard Guinn added 14 for the guests. A three-pointer by Vule Advalovic gave Pamesa a 65-60 edge with under 2 minutes to go. Dijon Thompson and Lishchuk managed to tie the game, 66-66, with 35 seconds remaining. Martinez made free throws and Azovmash had the game's final possession, but Khalid El-Amin's three-point shot went in and out.
Nielsen opened the scoring with left-handed jump hook to which Kosta Perovic added a basket down low and Martinez back-to-back three-pointers as Pamesa raced to an early 10-0 lead. Lishchuk's drive from mid-court got Azovmash on the board after 3 minutes. Pamesa was active on the boards as Perovic hit 2 free throws after an offensive rebound. Lishchuk thunder-dunked a pass from Dijon Thompson in response, but Perovic soon took a similar pass from Albert Oliver to make it 14-4. Oliver and Nielsen widened the lead to 18-6 before Simonas Serapinas buried Azovmash's first three-pointer from the corner and Khalid El-Amin's steal was converted on the break Thompson, forcing a Pamesa timeout, after which Nielsen made free throws to end the quarter 20-11 for the hosts. Avdalovic opened the second-quarter scoring from downtown for Pamesa before Guinn replied with a 15-foot jumper. A three-point play by Williams extended Pamesa's lead to 26-13, but Guinn and Lishchuk came through with 7 unanswered points. Albert Miralles and the red-hot Guinn traded points before Nielsen and Avdalovic finished fastbreaks for another double-digit advantage, 32-22. Rolandas Jarutis offered a reverse layup and Goran Kakic a basket down low for Azovmash, but after Nielsen earned 2 more baskets inside, even another triple by by Serapinas couldn't keep Pamesa from leading 36-31 at the half.
Nielsen started the second half in style with a jumper and a three-pointer to give him 17 points and Pamesa a 41-31 lead. Thompson slammed in Azovmash´s first points of the second half and then Lishchuk had a three-point play to make it 41-36. Hasan Rizvic made it a 7-0 run with a jump-hook before Serapinas made a layup that brought the visitors all the way back. Miralles’s reverse layup kept Pamesa in front as the teams started to trade scores. El-Amin was fouled attempting a three and made 3 free throws to cut the deficit to 2 points. But a pair of Williams free throws left the home side on top at 51-47 with 10 minutes remaining. A Guinn three-pointer gave Azovmash the perfect start to the final quarter and he soon added free throws that gave Azovmash its first lead of the game. Five straight points from Martinez put Pamesa back in front at 56-52. Williams made it a 6-point lead, but a good defensive stand by Azovmash followed by a Jarutis layup kept the visitors within striking distance. El-Amin backed Oliver on the low block and scored a lay-up to make it a 2-point game with 3:15 remaining. An Avdalovic three-pointer put Pamesa in front by 5 only for Azovmash to hit with a quick counter-attack. Nielsen came up with a big defensive play after a Pamesa miss, drawing a charge from Lishchuk as the big center dribbled into the lane. Avdalovic was fouled by Al-Emin with 1:15 to go but only split two free-throws and Guinn scored with a reverse layup to cut the deficit to 66-64. Then Lishchuk threw down a two-handed dunk to tie the game at 66-66 with 35.2 seconds remaining. Pamesa head coach Neven Spahija called timeout after which Martinez appeared to lose control of the ball while under pressure by Serapinas but the Azovmash player was called for coming over the back. Both he and coach Rimas Girskis complained bitterly as they went to the bench for a time out with 20.8 seconds remaining. Martinez made both free throws to put Pamesa in the driving seat. With four seconds to go, El-Amin got free for an attempt from behind the arc, but the ball rimmed out as Pamesa survived 68-66.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Cindy Garcia, Valencia