BCM Gravelines, a small-town team from northern France, made a big-city move in Group A on Tuesday by dropping a 91-83 decision on visiting Snaidero Udine to take sole possession of first place in Group A with only three games of the regular season remaining. Ali Bouziane scored 7 points in the last minute to preserve the victory for Gravelines, whose record jumped to 5-2. Udine fell to 4-3 and a second-place tie with Ural Great, a winner earlier at Fuenlabrada. Despite bad field goals (28 for 68, 38%), Gravelines held onto the victory, while Snaidero paid for each of its 19 turnovers. The winners were led by guard Frankie King, who nailed 22 points, 19 of those in the first 15 minutes. Cedric Miller added 15 points and Kordian Korytek contributed 13. Double digits scoring arrived also from forward Benoit Geroget, who landed 4 of 6 from three-point territory, and Bouziane, who scored 10 points total with 4 assists. Udine was led with 20 points by forward Chandler Thompson. He was followed by Joel Zacchetti with 15, Demetrius Alexander 13, Sasha Vujacic and Mikhail Mikhailov, 12 each, and Michele Mian with 11.
The game was tight in the first period, but only after Udine had found great offensive firepower by Thompson good enough for an early 2-9 lead. With King warming up, however, Gravelines filled up the gap with a 9-1 run that resulted in a lead change at 11-10. Udine took the lead back soon enough, but Miller's three at the buzzer of the first quarter put the hosts up again, 17-16. The tempo of the game slowed after the initial fireworks, and both teams had trouble scoring for awhile before King again and Tony Windless gave Gravelines a solid five-point lead, 28-23, in the second period. Udine missed a couple of open shots that gave hosts a chance to run the break. Gravelines converted for a 6-0 run to build the lead to 37-28. Udine had only some baskets from Alexander to try to avoid the slide, but those were not enough, and Gravelines reached the intermission with big double-digit lead, 48-35.
Gravelines added a basket to that lead early in the third quarter (53-38), but Udine did not surrender. An important 0-8 run thanks to the teenage guard Zacchetti got Udine back in the game at 53-46. Gravelines' coach Jean Luc Monscheau took a timeout to stop the visitors' momentum, but Udine just went on making up point after point. With 5 points in a row by guard Michele Mian, Snaidero was just 4 points behind Gravelines at the end of the third period, 63-59. The final quarter began with a Udine basket that cut that deficit down to a single shot, 63-61. With the push of home crowd, however, Gravelines found the energy to resist any lead changes. The hosts ran away once again with a huge 8-0 run thanks mainly to Georget, who sank 2 threes in a row to re-establish a double-digit lead, 71-61. The blow was very strong, but Udine did not sink and stayed into the game making up points in the last 4 minutes. The last attempt came in the final minute, when Vujacic set up Zacchetti for the basket that pulled Udine within 83-80. Udine's defense tried for a steal that could have meant the chance to tie the score, but guard Bouziane sank a triple and then a lay up to blow away all Snaidero's hopes and put Gravelines on top of Group A exclusively.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002