ALBA holds to win Game 1 shootout
ALBA Berlin used its high-powered offense to move within one game of the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals by beating MoraBanc Andorra 102-97 in Game 1 of their best-of-three semi-finals series at home. ALBA passed the 100-point mark for the sixth time this season as Luke Sikma collected 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists while Peyton Siva had 18 points and 9 assists. Niels Giffey added 14 points, Rokas Giedraitis 13 and Martin Hermannsson chipped in 10 points – including a huge three-point play in the final minute – plus 7 assists. MoraBanc, which is playing this deep in the competition for the first time in club history, cut a 19-point deficit to 2 points in the final minute, but could not steal the road win. David Jelinek paced six scorers in double figures with 16 points, while Andrew Albicy had 14 points and 12 assists, Dylan Ennis and Jerome Jordan both scored 14 points, Michele Vitali had 11 and Rafa Luz 10 points. Reggie Upshaw tallied 9 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Albicy's three-pointer gave MoraBanc its first lead, 4-5. ALBA held MoraBanc scoreless for 2 minutes and Giedraits had a three-pointer and a tip-in in building a 15-7 lead. Moussa Diagne stopped the drought, but a Giffey triple helped build a 24-14 advantage. Vitali came off the visitors' bench for a three in getting it to 24-19, but Giffey answered with three-point play and ALBA was up 29-21 after 10 minutes. After Giffey reestablished a 10-point lead, MoraBanc was able to take advantage of ALBA turnovers with two Jordan baskets to pull to within 31-27. Another Jordan score had the gap down to 36-30, but ALBA's sharpshooters started really heating up as Giedraitis, Siva and Franz Wagner all hit from long range in opening a 52-35 lead. Vitali answered at the other end from the outside, but Sikma punched back from beyond the three-point line and the hosts led 59-43 at the break. MoraBanc was able to come up with some stops early in the second half and Albicy's three trimmed the deficit to 62-50. Siva would have none of a MoraBanc comeback with a three-pointer. Sikma added another three as ALBA went up 70-52. Another triple from Siva put the hosts ahead 75-56. MoraBanc started to score more consistently with Ennis completing a three-point play and Upshaw nailing a three-pointer just before the buzzer. MoraBanc trailed just 85-73 after 30 minutes. A Sikma alley-oop started the fourth quarter, but MoraBanc was not ready to go down without a fight with 5 straight points from Jordan to cut it to 87-80. Hermannsson came up with a big three-pointer to give the hosts some breathing room at 92-82 with 5 minutes left. The gap was 95-84 after Giedraitis's three-point play, but MoraBanc held ALBA scoreless on five straight possessions and Jelinek and Albicy both hit from the outside to make it 95-92 with 1:43 minutes left. The comeback continued and it was only 99-97 after a Vitali three-pointer with 47 seconds left. But Hermannsson converted a three-point play with 27 seconds to secure the victory.
Peyton Siva was Mr. Do-It-All for ALBA with 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor and 5-for-5 from the line to go with 4 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals and 7 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 32.
ALBA scored 59 points in the first half to set a new club record in the EuroCup. The team's previous best mark was 58. The competition’s all-time mark is still safe as KK Buducnost Podgorica poured in 67 points in the second half against PAOK Thessaloniki in the 2004-05 season.
ALBA shot the lights out, hitting 29 of 43 (67.3%) from two-point range and 11 of 22 (50.0%) from the outside as well as 11 of 12 (91.7%) free throws. It was needed as MoraBanc grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and turned the ball over only 10 times.
These two teams will head to Andorra for Game 2 on Friday when MoraBanc hopes to remain undefeated at home and force Game 3 on March 27.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019