ASK Riga stayed alive in the fight to reach the elimination rounds in Group H by downing the Artland Dragons 70-60 in the Latvian capital on Tuesday. ASK improved to 3-5 and keeps options to become one of the best fourth-ranked teams in the competition. Meanwhile, the Dragons dropped to 4-3 and have a major showdown against Benetton Tamoil Treviso next week. Dwayne Broyles paced the winners with 15 points while Curtis Millage added 11 for ASK. Lamont McIntosh had 13 points for the Dragons while Paul Johnson added 10. ASK opened the game with an 11-0 run and used outstanding defense and an unstoppable Raitis Grafs to keep a 15-6 edge after 10 minutes. Earl Rowland and Johnson got the Dragons within 21-18, but second-chance points and close baskets helped ASK to restore a double-digit margin, 29-19, at halftime. ASK rolled in the third quarter, as Millage and A.J. Bramlett allowed the hosts to break the game open, 53-30, at the end of the third quarter, enough to register a much-needed win, as the Dragons only rallied once the outcome was clear.
The Dragons tried to run its offense through Darius Hall in the early going without much success. Meanwhile, Broyles and Gatis Jahovics combined for all points in an 11-0 ASK run that made the guests call timeout. The Dragons missed 9 shots and committed 3 turnovers before Dirk Madrich stepped up with free throws. Back-to-back baskets by Grafs allowed ASK to keep a 15-6 lead after 10 minutes. ASK kept dominating the game with outstanding defense early in the second quarter. McIntosh followed a big basket with a triple to get the Dragons within 17-11. Curtis Millage and Broyles stepped up off a ASK timeout but Rowland and Johnson got Artland even closer, 21-18. Grafs and Aerick Sanders gave ASK some air with consecutive baskets for a 25-18 lead. Another close basket by Grafs and free throws by Millage allowed ASK to get a 29-19 halftime edge. Sanders scored around the basket for ASK right after the break while the Dragons kept struggling against the hosts' strong defense. Millage stroke from downtown but Madrich and Thomas got Artland within 34-23. A layup by Bramlett ignited an 8-0 run that he capped with another close basket to break the game open, 42-23. Thomas fired in a triple but ASK kept rolling, as Jahovics and Bramlett allowed the hosts to get a 23-point margin, 53-30, at the end of the third quarter. Dairis Bertans and Broyles buried one apiece from beyond the arc to seal the outcome, 59-34, early in the fourth quarter. Both teams fought for points differential now, as the Dragons slightly improved their offense in the final minutes. Even with that, ASK allowed their fans to celebrate a big home win.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008