BC Azovmash will carry the Ukranian flag into the Last 16 of the Eurocup after putting on a shooting display to win Group A with a resounding 87-74 home win Tuesday against visiting Asvel Basket of France. Azovmash finished with a 4-2 record while Asvel fell to 2-4 and elimination. An amazing display of long-range shooting explained the result as Azovmash buried 18 of 37 three-pointers (48%) on the night to just 4 of 14 (28%) for Asvel. Team leader Khalid El-Amin was the catalyst again for Azovmash, hitting 7 of his 11 three-point tries on the way to 23 points for the winners. Simonas Serapinas wasn't far behind, with 4 first-half bombs en route to 14 points. Uchenna Nsonwu, Serhiy Lishchuk and Rolandas Jarutis added 10 points each for the winners. For Asvel, Ali Traore posted 19 points, while Amara Sy had 14, Chevon Troutman 11 and Ben Dewar 10. Azovmash will join Pamesa Valencia of Spain and Serbian teams Red Star and Hemofarm in Group K of the Last 16.
After Lischuk opened the game with a triple, Traore gave Asvel its first lead with his second basket. It marked the first of 11 lead changes in the first 7 minutes, the last as El-Amin blasted a triple, to be followed quickly by those of Serapinas, Jarutis and Oleksandr Skutyelnik as Azovmash suddenly zoomed ahead 27-18 after one quarter thanks to 5 shots from the arc and 7 assists already. Newly-signed Nick Fazekas debuted with a layup for Asvel to start the second quarter, but Serapinas answered with another three-pointer for the first double-digit lead, 30-20. J. R. Reynolds and Fazekas cut the difference to 30-25 before Azovmash stretched it to double-digits again, where El-Amin and Nsonwu maintained it. Traore's best efforts for Asvel were erased by Serapinas burying 2 three-pointers in the final minute before halftime, leaving Azovmash up 49-37. the hosts looked untouchable as El-Amin opened the third quarter with a triple, but Asvel scored the next 9 points to cut it to 52-46 on a layup by Sy. Azovmash's long-range shooting proved incredible, however, as in the next minute, Oleksandr hit from downtown before El-Amin went boom-boom from deep on consecutive possessions to restore a 61-47 advantage. El-Amin came back with his fourth triple in 7 minutes to make it 64-51 on the way to Azovmash's 66-53 lead after 30 minutes. The scoring quieted in the fourth quarter, which was bad news for Asvel, especially after El-Amin answered Ben Dewar's triple with his seventh of the night from long distance. He wasn't going to let Asvel come back now, and as a result, Azovmash was headed to the Last 16 as the champion of an incredibly competitive Group E of the regular season.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009