Zalgiris rallies for win at ASVEL
Zalgiris Kaunas fought back from a double-digit deficit to collect a hard-fought 74-83 victory at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. Zalgiris held ASVEL to just 24 points in the second half after giving up 50 points in the first 20 minutes. Marius Grigonis scored 25 points for Zalgiris, which trailed by 13 points late in the second quarter and by 11 points midway through the third. Lukas Lekavicius added 13 points and Thomas Walkup totaled 11 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists for the Lithuanian champs who lead the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with a 5-1 record and are 4-0 on the road. ASVEL came into the game having not played since Round 2 due to several COVID-19 positive cases. The big first half was not enough as the club dropped to 0-3. Charles Kahudi scored 18 points, Guerschon Yabusele had 17 points, David Lighty 16, Paul Lacombe 10 and Moustapha Fall chipped in 7 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block for an index rating of 27.
Despite missing five players, ASVEL didn’t look like a team out of rhythm as it scored the game’s first 7 points - including a Fall dunk and Amine Noua three-pointer. Zalgiris finally scored on a three-pointer from Walkup after nearly 3 minutes. Kahudi and Grigonis both had two baskets for their respective teams and Augustine Rubit made it 16-11 before ASVEL held the visitors scoreless for more than 2 minutes and used a 7-0 run to go up 23-11. The score was 23-13 after 10 minutes. An Arturas Milaknis triple to start the second quarter was matched by a triple from Kahudi. Martinas Geben came off the Zalgiris bench for 5 points and trimmed the gap to 26-23. ASVEL used the long ball to pull back ahead as Kahudi, Yabusele and Lacombe all hit from long range and a 10-0 surge made it 39-26. Lacombe added a layup after a pair of offensive rebounds and Kahudi drained a triple to keep the lead at 13. Lekavicius got a three-point play at the other end and Zalgiris trailed 50-41 at intermission.
Fall and Lighty both hit free throws early in the second half. Zalgiris worked hard to get back into the game, holding ASVEL to just one basket in a 2-8 spurt to get within 56-51. Zalgiris continued to keep the ASVEL offense in check and Grigonis scored the final 4 points to bring the visitors within 60-57 after 30 minutes. A Joffrey Lauvergne dunk after a Paulius Jankunas steal gave Zalgiris its first lead of the game at 60-61. Lighty finally got the hosts on the board with a long jumper after more than 3 minutes to regain the lead. Grigonis answered with a three-pointer and Rubit made it 62-66. ASVEL finally got some rhythm going offensively with a Kahudi basket and Yabusele three-pointer to nose back ahead 67-66. Lekavicius converted a three-point play and added a triple at the other end to surge ahead 67-72. A Geben triple increased the gap to 70-76 only to see Kahudi halve the deficit with a three-pointer with 81 seconds left. Grigonis came up with a huge three-point play with 56 seconds left and Walkup’s free throws with 14 seconds to play iced the game.
ASVEL majorly short-handed in return
ASVEL was playing its first game since Round 2 on October 9 as 11 players tested positive for COVID-19. But the French team was still missing several key players: Norris Cole, Antoine Diot, Rihards Lomazs and William Howard all missed the game.
Career night for Grigonis
Marius Grigonis was outstanding for Zalgiris, hitting 8 of 14 shots and 7 of 7 free throws for 25 points to go with 2 rebounds and 3 assists for an index rating of 27. Both his point total and PIR were personal bests for the Lithuanian guard.
Zalgiris turned the ball over only 10 times in the game and connected on 18 of 18 free throws. It was the second time this season that Zalgiris was 100% from the foul line after hitting all 13 free throws against Khimki Moscow Regions in Round 2.
ASVEL will head on the road for its next EuroLeague game at TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on Thursday, November 5. Zalgiris will look to improve its record when it hosts Real Madrid the next day.
Thursday, October 29, 2020