If confidence and enthusiasm are two things that feed young teams, it is easy to understand why BC Gravelines started its ULEB Cup experience with a huge smile, routing Telekom Bonn 88-63 before a thrilled home crowd in Dunkerque. The French club was able to take off after a really balanced first quarter. The hero of the game was forward Danny Strong, who ended with a game-high 20 points in only 24 minutes on court. He had 17 of those points in the first half as Gravelines took its first commanding leads. Despite a huge lead on rebounds for Bonn, 21-30, the guests were undone by turnovers, giving up 23 possessions without a shot to just 9 for the hosts. Team play was clearly shown by assists, as Gravelines had 23 of those and Bonn only 9. Terrence Rencher led Bonn with 16 points while Alexandar Nadjifej contributed 12.
The first quarter saw the two teams play really close, as Bonn stayed in the game with only 3 points to make up, trailing only 29-26 against a decidedly confident team at the end of 10 minutes. The Germans were a little bit shocked in the second quarter, when Strong started nailing shots from all over the court. He was seconded by forward Kordian Korytek, who would finish the game with 14 points. Guard Jason Rowe, who himself finished with 11 points, was already the conducter of this offensive orchestra. Gravelines succeeding in keeping the lead going strong until halftime, when it bordered on double digits, at 48-39.
The third quarter was when everybody expected a reaction by the guests, but they were actually crushed down in those minutes after halftime. Rencher lost the rhythm of the game on his way to 8 turnovers, and Gravelines went on exploiting the open-court opportunities that resulted. The quarter saw the French team scoring 25 points, while the Germans stopped at 13, little more than one per minute, to give Gravelines a 73-52 lead. The fourth period served just to fix the final score as Gravelines pulled away to easy victory and an early boost in Group A.
Tuesday, October 15, 2002