Aris BSA 2003 remains tied for the Group D lead after topping Bnei Eshet Tours Hasharon 84-71 on Tuesday in Thessaloniki, Greece. Head coach Andrea Mazzon's team will host fellow undefeated side Turk Telekom next week with first place at stake. Aris took the lead from the first seconds of the game and never lost it for a relatively easy victory. Meanwhile, Bnei Hasharon lost for the second time in as many weeks, making its road to the next round even more difficult. Keydren Clark scored 15 to pace Aris, while Blagota Sekulic posted 14 points and 9 rebounds and Spencer Nelson recorded 14 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Lazaros Agadakos was also a factor with 9 points and 8 rebounds for the winners. Ugonna Onyekwe paced Bnei Hasharon with 15 points and Cookie Belcher added 13 in defeat.
Sekulic was a dominant force under the two baskets in the first period, scoring 8 points and grabbing 6 rebounds, helping Aris take the lead from the very first moments of the game. The hosts were in control as they built a 23-16 lead by the end of the period. Bnei Hasharon couldn't find the answers to the home team’s defensive pressure and as a result, found itself unable to threaten Aris to that point. The first half of the second quarter was no different, as Aris continued to set the tempo and keep the lead. Mazzon's team led by 11 points after a layup by Nelson, who was Aris's top player in the second period on both ends of the floor. After that point, Bnei Hasharon reacted, toughened its defense, found ways to score and even reduced the difference to 38-37, a minute before the end of the first half, thanks to a three-pointer by Belcher. Anton Gavel’s three was the basket that ended the second period, giving Aris a 41-37 halftime lead.
Clark and Sekulic did the most damage to Bnei Hasharon's defense in the third period, making some very difficult shots under pressure and keeping their team ahead. The visitors were unable to take advantage of Aris's turnovers and couldn’t contain Clark, who scored 9 points in the third period. As a result, Aris closed the third period leading by 64-53, looking like clear favorites to win the game. And the game had no surprises until the buzzer, with the hosts keeping their lead in double figures and grabbing a very crucial win on its way to the next round of the Eurocup.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008