Sparked by a player who seized his third all-time ULEB Cup record, Spirou Charleroi lived to fight another day in Group C with a dramatic and defensive 64-62 victory over visiting Galatasaray Cafe Crown at home in Belgium on Tuesday. Charleroi, facing elimination, raised its record to 3-5 and ties now for fourth place with CSU Asesoft, both two victories behind third-place Galatasaray, now 5-3. Charleroi's victory was highlighted by veteran big man Andre Riddick moving into first place on the ULEB Cup's all-time rebounding list with 370. He surpassed previous leader Felipe Reyes of Real Madrid with a fourth-quarter block and rebound, shortly before his inside basket in the next-to-last minute gave Charleroi a lead it would not relinquish. Riddick, in his sixth season with Charleroi, is also the ULEB Cup's all-time blocked shots and steals leader. He had plenty of help from other big men in saving Charleroi's season. Len Matela posted a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds for the winners, while Tremmell Darden came close, with 13 and 9, respectively. Galatasaray got 20 points from Charles Gaines and 16 from Dee Brown, who nearly brought the guests back from 6 points behind in the final minute. Chirs Owens added a double-dozen, 12 points and 12 rebounds, for Galatasaray, which would have qualified for the elimination rounds with a victory.
Charleroi got its momentum and crowd going with a 5-0 start that Matela pushed to 9-1 with back-to-back baskets. Riddick supplied a high lead of 11-2 before Galatasaray responded with 3 baskets from Gaines to climb within 13-10. Riddick, Matela and Roel Moors finished the quarter, however, with Charleroi still in command at 19-13. Charleroi boosted its lead into double digits for the first time, 26-15, on Wes Wilkinson's three-pointer early in the second quarter. Galatasaray looked to Cemal Nalga for points until Chris Owens and Dee Brown trimmed the difference to 30-27. Owens kept going with 4 points in a row to forge a tie that held at 34-34 for halftime. Gaines finally gave Galatasaray its first lead, 36-37, soon after the break. That was the first of 7 lead changes and 4 ties in the third quarter, after which Galatasaray led 47-50 thanks to a late triple by Cenk Akyol. Tremmell Darden opened the final quarter with a strike from the arc to tie for Charleroi, and the battle stayed close the rest of the way. Robert Hite's triple put Galatasaray back in front, but Riddick's record-breaking rebound midway through the quarter led to rebounds that got Charleroi within 55-56, and then Michael Jordan's triple took back the lead for the hosts. A tense, scoreless 90 seconds ended with Owens tying at the foul line, 58-58. Charleroi kept going inside as Riddick and Matela scored the next 3 baskets to open up a 64-58 lead entering the final minute. It was just enough to hold up for victory, however, as Brown drilled a three-pointer and got fouled shooting another. His first free throw went in to make it 64-62, but when he missed the second, he was forced to miss another, which Darden rebounded to preserve Charleroi's chances of staying alive.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008