Limoges tops Tofas to snap losing streak
Limoges CSP returned to the winning path by beating visiting Tofas Bursa 91-82 on Wednesday night. The hosts snapped a three-game losing streak and bounced back from a 22-point home loss in Round 5 to climb to 2-4 in the standings. Tofas Bursa dropped to 3-3, but saved the potential tiebreaker thanks to a 0-9 run in the last 3 minutes of the game. Limoges built a double-digit lead before halftime, but Tofas came within 67-62 entering the fourth quarter. Brian Conklin restored the confidence for the home team and made it 91-73 late. Semaj Christon led all Limoges’s scorers with 19 points and 7 assists, Hugo Invernizzi posted 16 on 4-of-7 three-point shooting plus 6 assists, while Conklin, Anthony Brown and Vincent Sanford contributed 15, 12 and 10 points, respectively. Matt Lojeski scored 21 points without missing a shot, Sammy Mejia followed him with 17 and Baris Ermis provided 10 more coming off the bench in a losing effort.
Both teams started at full-speed in a high-tempo first quarter. Limoges had a strong start and took an early 10-3 lead behind a three-pointer by Invernizzi, but the visitors needed less than a couple of minutes to turn it back and get their first advantage, 12-13. Both squads based their offense on their perimeter players, with Invernizzi and Lojeski shining and trading triple, finishing the first quarter with 10 points each. A late 7-0 run capped by a buzzer-beating tip-in by Jerry Boutsiele closed it with the home team ahead 30-23. Tofas looked ready for a quick comeback early in the second quarter, but a pair of threes by Christon and Nicolas Lang provided the hosts with a double-digit lead, 36-26, and forced an urgent Tofas timeout. Things didn’t change too much and got even worse for the visitors after a technical foul on Lojeski allowed Limoges to escape with a 43-28 advantage with less than 5 minutes to halftime. Lojeski tried to boost a reaction with a triple right after Tofas’s second timeout, but Christon took over again on offense to keep his team far from reach as Limoges headed the locker room with a comfortable margin, 49-38.
The game tempo slowed down a bit in the second half with Tofas trying to put more pressure on the ball and stopping Limoges's fluency on offense. It worked fine, but partially, as the hosts struggled to score, but so did Tofas. A triple by Invernizzi made it 57-41 and another one by Vincent Sanford kept it safe for Limoges, 60-46, midway through the third quarter. The defensive effort of Tofas was rewarded later thanks to an unexpected guest, Mushin Yassar, who combined with Baris Ermis off the bench to boost a late Tofas rally capped with a shot-clock beating triple from the latter to make it 67-62 at the end of the third. Ividijus Varanauskas showed up from deep to prevent Limoges from panicking, followed by a couple of buckets from Conklin and Lang that restored a 10-point edge, 74-64, to calm Limoges down. Conklin, Sanford and Christon came together to extend it to 91-73 right after Ermis was called for a technical foul, removing all comeback hope from Tofas with 3 minutes to go. The game didn’t end here, though, as Mejia, DJ White and Lojeski did their best to try to save the point difference from Round 1. A three by the latter capped a 0-9 run that reduced the gap to 91-82 at the end of the game.
Limoges CSP collected its second win of the season after having lost its three previous games. With this one, the hosts keep their chances to make it to the Top 16, as Coach Julbe said: “We will fight every game while we have chances."
Perfect for nothing
Tofas Bursa small forward Matt Lojeski recorded a season-high 21 points without missing a single field goal in more than 30 minutes. He shot for 3 for 3 on two-pointers and 5 for 5 on three-point attempts, but couldn’t help his team win the game.
Even though Limoges’ great shooting percentages could attract many people’s attention, the most remarkable stat was related to the assist-turnover ratio. The home team dished 24 assists but turned the ball over just 4 times, as a demonstration of an almost perfectly-controlled offense.
In Round 7 next week, Limoges CSP visits Rytas Vilnius (2-4) on Wednesday, while Tofas Bursa hosts Group C leader Partizan NIS Belgrade (5-1).
Wednesday, November 6, 2019