Despite a huge comeback by the hosts in the final quarter, Alba Berlin escaped Belgium with a road win on Tuesday night by 74-78 against Dexia Mons-Hainaut. The guests were leading 51-67 entering the fourth quarter, but an amazing 18-0 burst which kept Alba scoreless for almost 9 minutes allowed Mons to jump ahead, 69-67 with 90 seconds remaining. The cold head of the guests and a turnover by Justin Cage were all that Alba needed to secure a thrilling win that had looked easier 10 minutes earlier. The win puts Alba with a 1-0 record in Group H while Mons starts with a 0-1. Dashaun Wood and Kyle Weaver led the winners with 17 points each, Yassin Idbihi added 10, and so did Torin Francis together with 10 boards for the double-double. For Mons, Ahmad Nivins led the way with 20 points, Ronell Taylor added 16 and AJ Slaughter posted 15.
The hosts had a strong opening with an 8-0 in two minutes that was only broken by Francis Torin with his layup. But it was only a mirage because Dexia Mons
was still commanding the game with good criteria in offense and soon was up to 12-2 with Sean Singletary's slam. After timeout, Alba managed to come to again
and had a 2-8 run capped by Kyle Weaver that made it 14-10. It was then when Mons replied with its own 8-0 burst capped by Warren Carter's layup to make it
22-10. Heiko Schaffartzik's three put an end to the first quarter with a 24-17 Mons edge that still left things open. AJ Slaughter and Shan Foster teamed up
to make it a 12-point game with their five straight points, but the problem was that they remained the only producers for Mons in a few minutes and Alba used
that to come back thanks to Lucca Steiger's sparking three. Soon, the guests were up to 33-32 as Yassin Idbihi shined with four straight points. Finaly,
Dashaun Wood's three put Alba in the driver's seat, 35-37, but Mons didn't back off as the hosts tied the game a couple more times until Weaver's new three
allowed Alba to hit the lockerroom with a 41-43 lead despite its lonely steal against 9 turnovers.
Weaver and Wood combined efforts to boost Alba to a 41-51 lead in less than three minutes while keeping Mons scoreless during that period. Carter stopped the
bleeding with a free throw for the hosts but Torin emerged as the main man in offense for the guests now as he kept scoring for a 46-60. Alba was up to 12
turnovers now against Mons' 8, but the 7 of 13 from the arc was proving a key factor for Alba. Foster and Wood traded threes to keep things the same and then
Wood scored a new bucket to make it 49-67 before Slaughter closed the period with a 51-67 for Alba. Things changed in thelast period however as a hurricane called Dexia Mons took the court with a slamming 16-0 burst to completely disarm the Alba offense and defense and tie the score, 67-67. An effort started by Slaughter and followed by Ronell Taylor put the hosts back in the game and not only that, but they jumped ahead when the run was extended to 18-0 for the 69-67. Marko Simonovic finally broke the spell for Alba with a three 8:30 into the last period, so a new whole game was practically starting. With 44 second to go, Slaughter blasted a three to tie the game once more, 72-72. Wood hit free throws for Alba and Simonovic did the same to keep the guests ahead, 73-76 with 19 seconds left. A timeout by Mons planned the final play but Justin Cage turned the ball over and Wood's layup broke the game open for the 73-78 that saved Alba from a win that looked way easier in minute 30.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011