Taylor's three lifts ASVEL over CSKA
In a thriller that literally went down to the final shot, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne sent a message that echoed all around the competition by downing defending champion CSKA Moscow 67-66 at the Astroballe on Friday. ASVEL improved to 4-3 while CSKA dropped to 5-2. Rihards Lomasz led the winners with 15 points. Jordan Taylor added 14, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 13.4 seconds left, while Tonye Jekiri pulled down 14 rebounds for ASVEL. Mike James led CSKA with 14 points. Janis Strelnieks added 11 while Johannes Voigtmann and Kyle Hines each had 10 for the guests. James shined early, getting help from Strelnieks to give CSKA a 12-17 lead after 10 minutes. ASVEL found a go-to guy in Lomasz, who had 8 points in a 12-0 run that gave ASVEL a 29-21 margin. Hines and Strelnieks brought CSKA closer, 33-30, at halftime. ASVEL extended its margin to 44-35 right after the break but Voigtmann, Hines and Andrey Vorontsevich allowed CSKA to get a 50-52 margin after 30 minutes. CSKA led 60-64 with a minute left but Lomasz hit 4-of-4 free throws and Taylor buried the game-winning triple with 13.4 seconds left. CSKA had a final chance to win the game but James missed a mid-range shot as time expired.
James got CSKA going with a jumper that Edwin Jackson bettered with a triple for a 3-2 ASVEL lead. Hines scored down low and Nikita Kurbanov struck from downtown to restore CSKA’s lead. Jekiri buried a jumper and Livio Jean-Charles added a triple but James singlehandedly kept the guests ahead, 8-12. Strelnieks scored in penetration and James hit another jumper for a 10-16 CSKA edge. Jean-Charles buried a mid-range shot and Semen Antonov fixed the score at 12-17 after 10 minutes. David Lighty buried a triple early in the second quarter and a floater by Lomasz kept ASVEL within 17-19. Kosta Koufos hit a jump hook but consecutive three-pointers by Lomasz allowed the hosts to take the lead, 24-21. Jekiri dunked after a CSKA timeout and a jumper by Taylor gave ASVEL a 29-21 lead, after a 12-0 run. Hines scored in the low post and an off-balance jumper by James made the hosts stop the game at 30-25. CSKA found a go-to guy in Janis Strelnieks, whose driving layup tied it at 30-30, but Taylor restored a 33-30 ASVEL lead at halftime. Voigtmann struck from beyond the arc immediately after the break and erased Lighty's basket with a jumper that tied it at 35-35. Taylor and Jean-Charles each hit a triple in a 9-0 run that gave ASVEL a 44-35 margin. James rescued CSKA with a wild three-point play, igniting a 0-7 run in which Voigtmann and Hines dunked for a 44-42 score. Jackson scored in penetration but Kurbanov did better with a three-pointer and a fast break slam by Darrun Hilliard completed the guests' comeback, 46-47. Ron Baker scored down low and Vorontsevich added a triple for a 50-52 CSKA lead after 30 minutes. Vorontsevich insisted from beyond the arc early in the fourth quarter but Lighty matched that with a three-point play and Charles Kahudi downed a three-pointer for a 56-55 ASVEL lead. Hines and Jekiri traded close baskets and a three-point play by Voigtmann made CSKA regain the lead, 58-60, with 3 minutes left. Strelnieks made free throws and Hines erased Jekiri's dunk with a layup that gave the guests a 60-64 lead in the next-to-last minute. Lomasz gave ASVEL hope from the foul line, 64-66, and the hosts got the ball back with 26.6 seconds left. Taylor swished a big three-pointer with 13.4 seconds remaining. CSKA called timeout and James missed a mid-range jumper at the buzzer.
Jordan Taylor made the difference with a big shot down the stretch, a stop-and-pop three-pointer that allowed ASVEL to win the game in dramatic fashion. He finished the game with 14 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists, a steal, a block and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 18.
ASVEL showed great faith and determination, pushed by a truly incredible crowd, and didn't give up when the game seemed to be over. Lomasz played aggressive against CSKA's defense to draw a couple of fouls and was ice cold from the free throw line, then Taylor hit a shot that has already been written in golden letters in ASVEL's history book.
Free throw shooting probably made the difference in such a balanced game. ASVEL hit 75% of its foul attempts, 18-of-24. On the other hand, CSKA went to the foul line 20 times, only scoring 11 free throws (55%). Those 7 extra points were valuable for ASVEL.
Did you notice?
ASVEL's resilience is shown in the fact that it hit just 35.5% of its two-point shots and still won the game. It is the lowest two-point shooting percentage for a game-winning team in the 2019-20 EuroLeague season. ASVEL only shot worse once before and won the game: 34.8% (16-of-46) against Union Olimpija on December 2, 2004.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Friday, November 15. CSKA hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul at 18:00 CET, in a rematch of the 2016 Championship game. One hour later, at 19:00 CET, ASVEL visits Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade.
Friday, November 8, 2019