The Artland Dragons showed their power by downing Triumph Luybertsy 81-75 in the 1st leg of the ULEB Cup Last 32 round in Quakenbruck, Germany on Tuesday night. As such, the Dragons now have a six-point lead in the two-way series that now travel to the Moscow region for the 2nd leg next week, in which Triumph will have the home court advantage. Leon Rodgers paced the winners with 16 points. John Goldsberry added 14, Lamont McIntosh had 11 while Terrance Thomas and Earl Rowlands each got 10 for the Dragons. Mire Chatman had 16 points for Triumph, Igor Zamanskiy added 12 and Terrell Lyday 11. Fedor Likholitov and Lyday fueled a 0-10 run that gave the guests a 16-24 lead after 10 minutes. A put-back layup by Zamanskiy gave Triumph its biggest lead, 20-31, but Rodgers singlehandedly brought the Dragons within 31-36 at halftime. A four-point play by Chad Prewitt completed the hosts' comeback, 52-51, late in the third quarter. Triumph trailed all the way in the final 9 minutes, but free throws by Chatman and another basket by Zamanskiy brought the guests within 76-75 already in the final minute. Rodgers sank a key three-pointer while McIntosh added free throws to allow the Dragons to seal a big win in style.
Goldsberry opened the game with a layup-plus-foul while Rodgers added another basket for a 5-2 Dragons lead. It didn't last long, however, as Sergei Toporov followed a triple with a big basket or a 5-7 Triumph lead. Chubb stepped up with consecutive baskets while McIntosh stroke from downtown to put the Dragons back ahead, 12-11. Chubb scored again but Triumph soon improved its defense and regained the game momentum. Likholitov and Lyday fueled a 0-10 run that gave the guests a 14-21 margin. Even when Rowland scored for the Dragons, Fedor Dmitriev answered with a triple for a 16-24 Triumph lead after 10 minutes. Kristaps Valters opened the second quarter with free throws but Thomas and Rodgers brought the Dragons within 20-26. Triumph kept excelling in defense, while Uros Slokar buried his trademark triple and Zamanskiy added a put-back layup to make it an 11-point game, 20-31. Chubb and Thomas tired to bring the hosts back to life but Chatman followed a big basket with a three-pointer to keep Triumph way ahead, 26-36. The guests tried long possessions without much success. Meanwhile, Rodgers shined with 5 points, including a layup off his own missed free throw, to get the Dragons within 31-36 at halftime.
Darious Hall tried to ignit the Dragons' comeback after the break and even when Chatman buried a triple, Prewitt answered from downtown for a 36-39 deficit. Toporov stepped up with free throws and Slokar added a basket but the Dragons' shooters were on fire. Goldsberry buried consecutive triples to make it a one-point game, 43-44. Slokar and Dmitriev gave Triumph some fresh air, 44-48, but the Dragons were a different team in defense now. Rowland made foul shots to keep the hosts within 48-49. Lyday made free throws but Prewitt simply took over with a wild four-point play that completed the Dragons' comeback, 52-51. A final basket by Zamanskiy restored a 52-53 Triumph edge after 30 minutes. Goldsberry nailed another three-pointer while Thomas scored off a steal for a 57-54 Triumph edge early in the fourth quarter. Lyday and Ognjen Askrabic tried to change things for Triumph but a triple by McIntosh and a key basket by Hall kept the Dragons ahead, 64-59, midway through the fourth quarter. Lyday stepped up with a layup-plus-foul while Zamanskiy scored again to keep Triumph within 67-64. Rowland hit foul shots, McIntosh sank a triple and by the time Rodgers scored again, Artland had a 74-68 margin. Chatman brought Triumph back in the game while Zamanskiy made it a one-point game, 76-75. Rodgers buried a triple to seal the outcome down the stretch while free throws by McIntosh gave the hosts an important lead in the series.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008