Darussafaka advances as Baygul fires up win in Berlin
Darussafaka Istanbul roared undefeated into the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals with a resounding 66-79 road win over ALBA Berlin on Wednesday. At 4-0 in Group E, Darussafaka is assured to advance to the quarters, while short-handed ALBA fell to 1-3. ALBA led 21-11 after an early 19-5 outburst, but Darussafaka met that run with its own of 6-19 to take control before halftime. After ALBA regained a 47-46 edge late in the third quarter, the visitors responded with a 0-11 escape that proved the difference. Muhammed Baygul paced the winners with a career-high 18 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the arc. Scottie Wilbekin followed with 16 points, Howard Sant-Roos 15 and Michael Eric 10. Luke Sikma had 15 points for ALBA, 11 of which came in the first quarter. Joshiko Saibou added 14 and Marius Grigonis 12 for the home team.
With guards Peyton Siva and Spencer Butterfield injured, ALBA newcomer Steve Vasturia got a start in his first EuroCup appearance. Sikma and JaJuan Johnson started the scoring before Sant-Roos dunked off a steal and James Bell off a block to put Darussafaka ahead 2-6. Grigonis and Sikma combined one 9 points in between which Vasturia hit from downtown as ALBA went ahead 14-11. Stefan Peno made free throws and Grigonis fed Sikma to extend the lead to 19-11, forcing a Darussafaka timeout. Grigonis was perfect at the line, too, getting the ALBA run to 19-5 before Eric and Sant-Roos ended it for Darussafaka, but the hosts held a 23-17 lead after 10 minutes. Strong defense combined with scoring from Johnson and Bell got Darussafaka close enough for Eric to take the lead at 25-26. Wilbekin, scoreless until then, added a four-point play at 25-30, giving Darussafaka a 6-19 run. After a series of free throws, Sant-Roos fed Baygul for a three-pointer and their team's biggest lead yet, 29-37. One of several young players out there for both teams, Jonas Mattisseck, scored last for ALBA to keep the hosts within 34-40 at halftime.
Dennis Clifford and Baygul opened the second-half scoring before Sikma and Mattisseck, from downtown, drew ALBA within 41-42. Sant-Roos made 4 of 4 free throws, but Niels Giffey and Grigonis combined on the next 6 points to put ALBA ahead 47-46. Sant-Roos and Wilbekin, from long range, reclaimed the lead for Darussafaka. Then Wilbekin struck again from the same spot and Baygul copied him to suddenly make it 47-57 at the end of three quarters. Saibou and Baygul traded triples to start the fourth quarter. Saibou's put-back was then matched by Wilbekin's drive before Eric stuffed a miss for another high lead for Darussafaka, 52-64. Baygul hit his fourth and fifth triples while Sant-Roos stole and dunked backwards as Darussafaka put the finishing touches on a sweep of ALBA to run headlong into the next round.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018