SLUC Nancy outlasted AEK Athens 86-69 on Tuesday to take a share of the Group A lead. Nancy improved to 3-1, joining Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius atop the group, while AEK dropped to 1-3. Nancy started the game on fire, taking a 25-15 advantage late in the first quarter. They doubled it with an 11-0 run to take a 57-37 halftime lead. AEK climbed within 70-61 at the end of the third quarter with an amazing 18-6 run, but Tariq Kirksay drilled a clutch three to put Nancy back on track for the win. Kirksay led Nancy with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists, Deron Hayes added 17, making 5-of-5 three-pointers and 5 assists, Cyril Julian recorded a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards and Victor Samnick chipped in 10. Prodromos Nikolaidis led AEK with 18 points and 7 rebounds, Brent Scott added 12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, while Nikos Vetoulas tallied 10.
Kirksay opened fire for Nancy, but Nikolaidis answered from downtown and Brent Scott scored inside for a 2-5 AEK lead. Nancy exploded with a 14-2 run, highlighted by Kirksay's 6 points, to go up 16-7 at the midway point of the quarter. Hayes nailed back-to-back triples to make it 23-14 and then Julian gave the hosts their first double-digit margin. A 2-9 late run for AEK bridged the two quarter to reduce the difference to 27-24. Samnick and John Linehan boosted Nancy to 33-24 early in the second quarter, then Hayes and Nikos Vetoulas exchanged triples. Cedrick Banks and Linehan twice from downtown pushed the hosts' back to a double-figure cushion, 44-33, Vetoulas answered again from long distance, but Nancy closed the half with an 11-0 run, capped by Hayes's fifth triple for a comfortable 57-37 halftime lead.
AEK produced a big effort at the start of the second half, quickly climbing within 57-42, while keeping Nancy scoreless for four-and-a-half minutes. Linehan got Nancy on th board from the foul line and the hosts went back on track when Julian corrected a Linehan miss. Kirksay dunked to make it 64-43, growing the cushion over 20 for the first time. Kostas Maglos in the paint and Vetoulas outside showed signs of life from AEK, closing the gap to 66-53. Dan McClintock fixed the score at 68-53 at the end of the third quarter. Maglos again reduced the cushion to 68-57 with back-to-back layups. Kirksay gave Nancy breathing room, before Nikolaidis capped an incredible 18-6 run from downtown to get the lead under 10 for the first time since the first quarter, 70-61. Kirksay scored an amazing triple to reject dishearten the hosts, but Nikolaidis posted 5 straight points to get his team within 76-66 with four minutes left. Julian sealed the win for Nancy with 8 consecutive points, building a new 84-66 margin as the game entered the last two minutes.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006