Shaking off the effects of its opening-game defeat, Alba Berlin moved into a tie for first place in Group B by winning its next road game 69-80 at Telindus Oostende on Tuesday. Alba's second consecutive victory puts its record at 2-1, tied with Montepaschi Siena and Lukoil Academic for first place. Oostende falls to the second half of the group, at 1-2. Alba turned the game around with a 0-12 run before halftime and then finished the game by holding Oostende to a single point in the last 4 minutes on its own floor. William Avery paced the winners with 21 points while Chris Owens had 20 and 9 rebounds. Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje was key late for Alba and finished with 11 points. For Oostende, Rashad Wright put up 20 points, Eric Hicks 14, Elvir Ovcina 12 and Vanja Plisnic 10.
Ovcina scored 5 points to get Oostende started but Alba never fell much further behind than 10-5 on Rashad Wright's triple after 3 minutes. Soon, Owens combined with Avery to get Alba close and then Jenkis popped from the arc to tie 14-14. Ovcina kept Oostende strong with a layup and a triple, giving him 12 points in less than 8 minutes, but those would be his last for quite awhile. Jenkins had another triple in him that gave Alba a brief 19-20 edge, but Plisnic stepped up for the hosts with 5 points to close out the quarter with Oostende back in front, 24-20. Eric Hicks and Wright tried to add to that advantage early in the second, but Alba hung close thanks to three-point strikes by Nicolai Simon and Nenad Canak that made it 30-28. Hicks took over again, twice boosting the lead back to 5 points before Lavor Postell's jumper made it 37-30, Oostend's biggest lead yet. That margin went up to 8 points, 43-35 on a three-point blast by Wright in the 17th minute, but that was Oostende's last stand. Owens, Boumtje-Boumtje and Avery - the latter with a pair of triples - finished the half with an 0-12 blast that stunned the hosts and left Alba holding a sudden 43-47 lead at the break.
Wright and Hicks tried after halftime to shoot Oostende back into the lead, getting as close as 51-52. But that's when Owens and Avery combined again on 6 unanswered points for Alba and Sharrod Ford soon scored back-to-back baskets inside to keep the guests safe at 55-62 after 30 minutes. Postell hit another jumper to get Oostende within 57-62 to start the final quarter, but Boumtje-Boumtje sandwiched a pair of inside baskets around Demond Greene's three-point bomb to inflate the lead to 57-69. But the hosts were not deflated. Despite a triple by Avery, Oostende made an 11-3 push on points by Plisnic, Hicks and Wright to pull within 68-72 with 5 minutes left. Alba's defense ended that threat, however, by holding Oostende scoreless for the next 4 minutes while Owens and Koko Archibong shared 7 points that sent the visitors on their way to victory, 69-80.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006