A week after threatening one Group C co-leader on its own floor, last-place Darussafaka finished the job done at home in Istanbul on Tuesday against the other co-leader, RheinEnergie Cologne, by the blowout final score of 89-66. Darussafaka not only raised its record to 2-5 and held onto an outside shot at advancing, but it took the rug out from RheinEnergie (5-2), for whom a victory Tuesday would have meant qualification. The Turkish hosts destroyed their guests with great three-point accuracy (13 for 27, 48%), led by newly signed guard Richie Frahm, who drilled 27 points shooting 7 for 9 of threes. Following hime was Vincent Jones with a double-double of 21 and 11 rebounds. Forward Burak Sezgin added 11, while guard Mehmet Kahyaoglu contributed 10 points with 7 assists. RheinEnergie collapsed in the second half, when Sasa Obradovic, who led his team with 17 points, stopped scoring. Double digits contribution came only by Zoran Kukic, who added 10, all of his in the first half, too.
RheinEnergie Cologne started the game quite effectively on on offense, bolting to a 5-11 lead after 3 minutes on a three-pointer by Obradovic. Darussafaka also had trouble stopping center Stephen Arigbabu, brought Vedat Koruk on to bang inside, which worked long enough for the home team to work its way back into the action. The locals were gaining points and confidence, but RheinEnergie was able to hold onto a 14-18 lead after 10 minutes. Darussafaka's good momentum paid off in the second quarter with its first lead in the game, 27-25, on a three-point drive plus foul shot by captain Mehmet Kahyaoglu. The game quickly developed in to a three-point shootout, with the main gun being Darussafaka's newest player, Frahm. The last of his 4 three-pointers in the half, drilled from the corner, delivered the halftime scoreboard for Darussafaka, 42-40. Frahm was already up to 14 points, while Jones had 10 points and 5 rebounds for the home team. Obradovic was leading the visitors with 11 points and Kukic had 10 plus 6 rebounds.
Darussafaka started the third period as fast as it could, strengthening the lead minute by minute. An inside basket by Koruk made it 49-40. Another Frahm three-pointer added up to a 10-0 run and a 52-40 run in less than 3 minutes. RheinEnergie tried to respond but its own turnovers and bad shot attempts helped Darussafaka to maintain control. The visitors were only able to reduce Darussafaka's lead to 8 points, 59-50, at the end of the third quarter. In the last quarter, RheinEnergie's desperate fight changed nothing. Darussafaka was playing confident. The killer threes by Frahm and alley-oops to Jones proved Darussafaka was having its day. In the 33rd minute, on a Jones insider and another Frahm three, the lead hit 20 points: 70-50. By the end of the game, when an 18-meter shot by Cevher Ozer fell through at the buzzer, it was long a fact that all Darussafaka's lineup changes were good for on glorious victory.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002