MoraBanc defends home, forces Game 3
MoraBanc Andorra kept alive its magical season by remaining undefeated at home with a 98-79 victory over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in Game 2 to force their series to a fateful third game next week. Rafa Luz led the way for MoraBanc with 17 points while Dylan Ennis had 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. John Shurna scored 12 points and Jerome Jordan picked up 10 as MoraBanc evened the series at 1-1. Theo Maledon was ASVEL's leading scorer with 16 points and 5 assists. AJ Slaughter added 14 points and Miro Bilan 12 points and 8 rebounds in the loss.
David Jelinek and Moussa Diagne filled all of MoraBanc's early 6-2 lead. ASVEL responded with a 0-9 run with a Slaughter three-pointer and 4 points off a Diagne unsportsmanlike foul to lead 6-11. After Maledon's first basket made it 10-15, Jelinek had 4 points at the other end and evened the score at 15-15. Maledon punched back with a three-pointer and free throws and ASVEL was up 19-22 after 10 minutes. Jordan and Luz helped MoraBanc open the second quarter on a 7-0 run to lead 26-22 with Amine Noua finally getting ASVEL on the board after nearly 3 minutes. David Lighty put ASVEL back ahead 26-27 but MoraBanc came up with good defense on back-to-back blocks by Jordan and Reggie Upshaw in helping to open a 39-31 lead. Ennis pushed the gap to 43-33 only to see Slaughter hit a three and Mantas Kalnietis add 4 points as MoraBanc led 47-41 at the break. Shurna's 3 free throws and a layup by Luz increased the advantage to 52-41 early in the third quarter. Slaughter finally scored for ASVEL with a three-pointer but Ennis had 5 points and an assist and the cushion was 62-46. Luz added foul shots and a triple and Upshaw also hit from long range to make it 74-55 after 30 minutes. ASVEL picked up the first 4 points of the fourth quarter to trim the deficit, but Michele Vitali soon hit a three-pointer and Shurna connected from long range, too, making it 80-61 with under 6 minutes to play. MoraBanc failed to score for nearly 3 minutes as Sofiane Briki and Maledon hit back-to-back three-balls at 80-69. Luz stopped the scoreless stretch with a basket and added a corner triple as MoraBanc went up 87-70 with 2 minutes to play for the absolute dagger.
Rafa Luz came off the bench and collected 17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal in less than 19 minutes.
Bitter injury loss
MoraBanc captain Oliver Stevic injured his left wrist with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. This came just days after David Walker was just ruled out the remainder of the season with a shoulder sprain for MoraBanc.
MoraBanc out-rebounded ASVEL 39-22, including 16 offensive rebounds. The home side also hit 56.1% from two-point range and 47.4% of its three-pointers, compared to 52.8% and 36.4% for ASVEL.
It's do-or-die, Game 3 on Wednesday for these two teams back in France with the winner booking a spot in the semifinals.
Friday, March 8, 2019