Asvel Basket came back from 15 points down going into the fourth quarter to pull of a stunning 71-68 win over Cibona to snap an 11-game Euroleague losing streak. Cibona appeared to have the game well in hand till the last minutes as it dominated most of the game through good ball movement and team defense that forced Asvel into 17 turnovers until the home side put together an amazing 28-10 run to win the game in the final seconds. The comeback was capped by a Ben Dewar layup off a great pass from point guard Bobby Dixon. Asvel is now tied with Cibona and Zalgiris for fourth place in Group A at 1-4. The French champs host Zalgiris next week, while Cibona visits Montepaschi Siena. Dixon led the way for Asvel with 17 points and 8 assists. Kristjan Kangur added 13 points while Ali Traore and Dewar scored 12 and 10 points, respectively. Marin Rozic and Marko Tomas paced Cibona with 15 points apiece, and Luksa Andric chipped in 14 more.
Traore used his patented left-hand hook in the low post to open the scoring for Asvel. Moments later Dixon added a short jumper after splitting two Cibona defenders with some shake and bake dribbling. Andric got Cibona on the board with a layup off transition, and Rozic got 2 from the line to tie it at 4-4. Jamont Gordon fed Andric two plays in a row for a pair of easy layups to give the visitors the early lead. Rozic found a cutting Andric once more for a score, and Vedran Vukusic hit a bank shot to force coach Collet to call for time. Rozic capped a fastbreak to keep Cibona’s momentum going, 4-14, before Dixon finally struck back for the home side with a three-pointer. Tomas drained a triple of his own to push the lead back to double digits. Laurent Foirest threaded a nice pass to Bangaly Fofana who made a two-handed jam to ignite the home crowd, and Dewar nailed a baseline jumper as the buzzer sounded to reduce the deficit to 11-18 at the end of the first quarter.
Some nice ball movement ended in a layup by Rozic to open the second period, and head coach Vincent Collet quickly asked for a timeout after Vedran Princ converted a Rozic steal into quick 2 points for the visitors. Rawle Marshall responded by scoring his first points against his former club on a pull-up jumper. Rozic, staying aggressive, got to the foul line for 2 points. Traore hit back with another move in the post, and Marshall then drove in for a left-handed layup to get the lead down to 17-24. Andric swished a tough turnaround jumper with the shot clock running down and Bojan Bogdanovic got a basket-plus-foul to push Cibona back out ahead. Mindaugas Lukauskis used a head fake to get off a clean three-pointer for Asvel before Traore went to the bench with two fouls. Fofana scored off an offensive board and Dixon drove into the glass to keep Avsel within striking distance. Tomas answered with a floater, but Kangur countered with a layup to send Avel into the locker room down 26-33.
Both teams came out of the break shooting the ball well. Kangur started the third quarter with three-pointer, and Traore got the Cibona lead down to 31-35 with 2 free throws. Rozic answered with a layup plus foul off an offensive rebound. Foirest hit a triple from the corner and moments later found a cutting Kangur for a bucket. Andric picked up his third foul with Asvel within 4 points before Leon Radosevic swished a short jumper for Cibona. Foirest and Rozic traded three-point bombs. Kangur made 2 from the foul line, but Radosevic scored again, this time with a left-hand hook. Tomas drained a long three in the face of Traore, who responded by hitting a floater in the lane. Tomas put back a miss by Rozic, and Robert Troha and Vukusic buried back-to-back threes to claim a 43-58 lead at the end of three.
Both teams started the fourth quarter cold as Cibona tried to put the game to bed by slowing each possession down while turning up the defensive pressure on Asvel. Fofana finally broke the dry spell with bank shot at the 7:30 mark. Andric made 1 of 2 from the line, but Dewar nailed consecutive three-pointers to get the lead down to 51-60 and bring the home crowd back into the game. Cibona remained stagnant on offense and Kangur scored down low to cap a 10-2 run. Tomas then stepped up and hit a clutch jumper and next time down Gordon flew in for a monster slam to push the lead out to 53-64. Traore made a field goal, but Gordon drove in for a tough layup. Dixon nailed a deep three-pointer and Kangur’s 2 free throws got the lead down to 60-65 with 2:00 to play. Andric made 1 of 2 from the line, but Dixon spun in the lane for a layup and followed up with a three to get to 65-68 with a minute to play. Tomas missed a jumper and Traore was fouled by Gordon on the defensive board. With 34 seconds to play, Traore made it a 1-point game with 2 foul shots. Rozic missed a three-pointer from the corner, Dixon grabbed the rebounds and launched a half-court pass to a streaking Dewar for the game-winning lay up with 6 seconds to play. Cibona lost the ball, and Dixon was fouled and went to the line where he gave Asvel a 3-point lead. After Asvel tipped the ball out of bounds, Tomas missed a potential tying three-pointer and all of Lyon began to celebrate.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009