The Koln 99ers finished third in Group B and advanced to the ULEB Cup Last 32 by rallying to beat Ovarense Aerosoles 97-90 in Germany on Tuesday. Koln was third in Group B with a 6-4 record due to its tie-break disadvantage against Ventspils. Meanwhile, Ovarense was sixth in Group B at 0-10. Aleksandar Nadjfeji paced the winners with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Marko Keselj added 20 points, Yassin Idbihi had 15, Immanuel McElroy barely missed a triple double with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists while Toby Bailey got 10 points for Koln. Cordell Henry led Ovarense with 38 points on 7-for-9 two-pointers, 5-for-10 triples, 9-for-10 free throws and 6 assists. Ben Reed added 22 points while Greg Stempin had 11 for the guests, who dominated the game with 25 points. Stempin, Reed and an unstoppable Henry helped Ovarense to get a 18-point lead, 26-44, late in the second quarter. Idbihi, McElroy and free throws by Milko Bjelica brought Koln within 40-50 at halftime. Koln improved its offense after the break, as Idbihi and Keselj allowed the hosts to complete their comeback, 74-69, at the end of the third quarter. Henry kept pacing Ovarense but Nadjfeji and McElroy allowed Koln to register and important win that opened the door to the Last 32.
Henry started the game on fire to give the guests a 2-6 lead. Idbihi scored inside and Keselj added a triple but Stempin and Reed answered from downtown for a 7-12 Ovarense edge. Nadjfeji and Phillip Schwethelm stepped up with consecutive baskets while Bailey fired in a three-pointer to bring Koln within 14-16. Miguel Miranda buried a triple and Henry hit free throws to keep Ovarense ahead, while Stempin joined the three-point shootout to give the guests a 19-26 edge after 10 minutes. Reed and Stempin stroke from downtown again to make it a 12-point game, 22-34, early in the second quarter. Nadjfeji tried to change things for Koln but Stempin gave Ovarense a 25-38 edge. Henry and Miranda hit respective triples to give Ovarense its biggest lead, 26-44. Idbihi, McElroy and free throws by Bjelica brought Koln within 40-50 at halftime. Henry followed a big basket with back-to-back three-pointers to keep Ovarense ahead, 45-58, early in the third quarter. Idbihi stepped up with a layup-plus-foul, igniting a 10-2 run that Bailey capped with free throws to give Koln some hope at 55-60. Henry kept pacing Ovarense but Keselj brought the hosts even close, 62-65. Free throws by Bailey gave Koln its first lead, 66-65, while Bjelica and Keselj allowed the hosts to get a five-point edge, 74-69, after 30 minutes. Keselj and Bjelica boosted Koln's lead to double digits, 81-70, early in the fourth quarter, as Ovarense finally adjusted its defense. Meanwhile, Reed and an unstoppable Henry gave the guests some hope, 83-78, with 6 minutes to go. Nadjfeji and McElroy stepped up for Koln to seal the outcome, 92-81, with 3 minutes to go.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008