Ulm dominates, 81-96, in Gran Canaria
With a masterful road show, ratiopharm Ulm stopped red-hot host Gran Canaria in its tracks for an 81-96 win in Group B on Wednesday. Ulm lifted its record to 3-3 while Gran Canaria fell to 4-2 with a second home loss bracketed around a four-game winning streak. Ulm trailed for just one possession, in the first quarter, and was ahead by as many as 15 points in each half, including at the end. Jerome Blossomgame missed just 2 shots on his way to 25 points to lead the winners. Semaj Christon followed with 18 and 5 assists. Sindarius Thornwell celebrated his EuroCup debut with 17 points and Philipp Herkenhoff came off the bench for 12 more. AJ Slaughter scored 18 points and Dylan Ennis 17 for Gran Canaria, while Chris Kramer added 15 and Miquel Salvo 10. Gran Canaria narrowed the difference to 80-86 with a late run before Ulm used a 1-10 finish to pick up a good-as-gold road win.
Kramer matched a triple by Cristiano Felicio and a long two by Christon for an early 5-5 tie. But Felicio went inside, Thornwell opened his EuroCup career from deep and Christon drove for a layup to put the visitors in front 5-12. Slaughter answered for Gran Canaria from the arc, but when Blossomgame finished a break, the hosts needed a timeout at 8-14. John Shurna lifted Gran Canaria with a breakaway layup and a triple to make it 13-14 and Kramer gave the hosts the lead on another fastbreak. However, Christon flipped it back to Ulm and Fedor Zugic's three-point play made it 15-19. Thornwell got loose for another break before Herkenhoff hit a jumper that left the guests up 18-23 after 10 minutes.
Thornwell hit 4 free throws for an Ulm lead of 18-27 that he and Nicolas Bretzel protected with early second-quarter blocks. Kramer and Slaughter tried to spark Gran Canaria, but Bretzel and Thornwell scored in close before Blossomgame buried back-to-back triples to quickly carry Ulm's advantage up to 24-37. Christon added a basket to the lead before Salvo and Khalifa Diop gave Gran Canaria a pair of much-needed new scorers. Salvo's second basket lowered the difference to 33-41, but Christon and Blossongame lifted it to 35-45. Oliver Stevic took 2 back at the foul line for the hosts but Thomas Klepeisz finished the half from deep for a 37-48 Ulm lead.
Diop's 2 quick baskets after the break set up Kramer for a triple that suddenly had Gran Canaria within 44-50. Blossomgame answered from downtown, and when Slaughter matched him on a third-chance shot, Klepeisz also went deep at 47-56. Ulm's defense allowed only free throws over more than 6 minutes while Thornwell scored a put-back, Zugic struck and Blossomgame finished a break at 52-65. The hosts could only score at the foul line still as Herkenhoff blasted a triple that kept Ulm up 55-68 after 30 minutes.
Salvo ended Gran Canaria's field goal drought with a three-pointer to open the fourth quarter. Karim Jallow downed a finger roll for Ulm before Slaughter struck from deep, too. Blossomgame was ready with answers inside and out, however, as the Ulm lead climbed again to 61-76. Ennis, with his first field goal, and Slaughter, from downtown and the free throw line, willed Gran Canaria to within 68-78. Christon capitalized on a rare Ulm offensive rebound. Ennis fed Kramer for a back-door reverse and then finished a break at 72-80. Christon again steadied Ulm and Felicio dunked at 72-84, but Slaughter bit into the difference with a triple. Christon's free throws were met by Ennis firing from way downtown to make it 78-86 with under 3 minutes left. Ennis went up and under for the next basket at 80-86. Thornwell answered with free throws and a steal that ended in a put-back dunk by Blossomgame, restoring a double-digit lead at 80-90 and assuring Ulm a huge road win.
Blossomgame was near-perfect for Ulm
Ulm had quite a few key performers to pull of such a big win against the group leaders coming into the game, but every time Gran Canaria came within striking distance, Jaron Blossomgame slammed the door shut. The shooting forward finished with 25 points while making 5 of 7 two-pointers, 4 of 4 threes and 3 of 3 free throws on the night. He also pulled 6 rebounds, as much as anyone in the game, and had a higher PIR than anyone, 32, while playing almost 36 minutes. In other words, fingerprints were all over Ulm's upset.
Thornwell debuted in style for Ulm
Small forward Sindarius Thornwell made his EuroCup debut almost a month after signing on November 13, but the wait was well worth it. His very first shot was a strike from the three-point arc, but his hustle from the start is what proved infectious to his team. He would finish with 17 points that included 8-for-9 free throw shooting and grab 6 rebounds. Thornwell also set the defensive tone with an early block and made a huge steal near the end when Gran Canaria was rallying. He can be forgiven 5 turnovers in a new setting, especially since he and Jaron Blossomgame provided a one-two punch that Ulm's opponents will now have to work hard to counter as the season progresses.
By the numbers: Super shooting saved Ulm
Wednesday marked the 114th game for ratiopharm Ulm over its nine 7DAYS EuroCup seasons to date, but never before has the German club shot the ball so well. Ulm set a club record against host Gran Canaria with 66.2% true shooting, which simply measures how many points a team scores vs. how many it would have if every shot went in. Ulm was accurate enough to score 96 points, its third-highest total on the road, without overtime, and post a team PIR of 114, its fourth-highest away from home and eighth-best overall. All of that coming on the court of a group leader with a four-game winning streak showed that head coach Jaka Lakovic's team was prepared for anything on Wednesday.
Wednesday, December 8, 2021