| In an exciting showdown that went down to the wire, Spartak St. Peterburg became the first team to make it to the Last 16 in Group G by edging Ratiopharm Ulm 74-77 in Germany on Wednesday. Spartak stayed undefeated and improved to 4-0. Meanwhile, Ulm ties with Cholet for second place, each with a 2-2 record. Ulm will also reach the Last 16 in its first-ever Eurocup appearance if it beats Cholet next week. Loukas Mavrokefalides paced the winners with 19 points. Josh Carter added 17, Patrick Beverley had 15 while Zach Wright got 13 for Spartak. Allan Ray led Ulm with 15 points. John Bryant added 12 while Keaton Nankivil had 11 for the hosts, that led 16-15 after 10 minutes and kept a 32-31 edge at halftime. The game turned into a thriller then Bryant tied it at 65-65. Mavrokefalidis gave Spartak a 67-72 lead but Ulm managed to get within 74-75 already in the final minute. Carter and Mavrokefalidis split free throws and Per Guenther missed from downtown at the buzzer.
Carter got Spartak going with a three-pointer, as Ulm went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Ray stepped up with a layup. Beverley joined the three-point shootout and even when Ray scored again, a jumper by Vladimir Dragicevic gave Spartak a 4-8 lead. Ray kept pacing Ulm with a bomb from downtown and a put-back layup by Bryant gave the hosts its first lead, 9-8. Loukas Mavrokefalides scored down low but Dane Watts and Lance Jeter combined for all points in a 6-0 run that boosted Ulm's lead to 15-10. Beverley buried his second triple and Mavrokefalides soon tied it at 15-15. A free throw by Daniel Theis fixed the score at 16-15 after 10 minutes. Philipp Schwethelm nailed a jumper early in the second quarter but a layup by Janis Strelnieks and a three-pointer by Vasily Zavourev put Spartak back ahead, 18-20. Sebastian Betz and Artem Yakovenko traded free throws and a layup by Nankivil tied it at 22-22. Wright split free throws and Nankivil provided another lead change, 24-23. Wright kept pacing Spartak and a three-pointer by Carter gave his team a 26-29 lead. Bryant hit a jumper and 4-of-4 free throws by Ray allowed Ulm to regain a 32-31 lead at halftime.
Bryant scored twice around the basket soon after the break. Mavrokefalides stepped up with a layup that Ray matched with a jumper. Spartak improved its defense midway through the third quarter. Meanwhile, Carter and Mavrokefalides fueled a 0-7 Spartak run but a put-back dunk by Watts and a three-pointer by Steven Esterkamp restored a 43-40 Ulm edge. Wright took over with a put-back basket and a triple to tie it at 45-45. Schwethelm scored down low, Mavrokefalides and Esterkamp traded free throws and a three-point play by Wright put Spartak back ahead, 49-50, after 30 minutes. Theis made free throws early in the fourth quarter, Beverley answered from downtown and a jumper by Nankivil tied it at 53-53. Theis hit more foul shots that Mavrokefalides matched with a layup. Nankivil, Carter and Guenther struck from downtown for a 61-58 score with under 6 minutes left. Beverley scored around the basket and followed Nikita Kurbanov's jumper with a triple but Bryant tied it, 65-65, with 2:45 to go. Carter hit a critical three-pointer, Ray made free throws and 4 unanswered points by Mavrokefalidis seemed to seal the outcome but Guenther and Esterkamp brought Ulm within 70-72 with 30 seconds left. Carter split foul shots, Bryant scored in the paint, Mavrokefalidis and Guenther traded free throws for a 74-75 score and Carter went 1-of-2 from the line with 13 seconds to go. Ulm had a chance to tie but Mavrokefalides collected a steal, drew a foul and made 1-of-2 foul shots and Guenther missed a potential game-tying three-point shot at the buzzer.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012