|Spirou Basket hosts Spartak Saint Petersburg in what promises to be one of the most closely fought contests between two teams with such different records. Spartak enters at 2-1 in second place in Group E while Spirou is in fourth place at 0-3. And if you also consider that last week in Saint Petersburg Spirou fell 80-69 to Spartak, it might seem like a stretch to claim that Spirou has much of a chance to get back in the race for the elimination rounds on Tuesday. But three factors indicate that Spartak may not have such an easy time in Belgium as it did at home: first, Spirou has its backs to the fall and should play loose and with nothing to lose; second, Spirou can count on the support of its home fans; and third, in its loss last week, Spirou missed a whopping 12 free throws, which, if they had made them, the game would have probably been a nail-biter instead of a comfortable win for Spartak. The main individual match up to watch will be at the forward spots between Spirou’s Dwayne Broyles and Nick Jacobson and Spartak’s Milovan Rakovic and Yahor Meshcharakou. Broyles was unstoppable last week, scoring a game-high 26 points to go with 10 rebounds and 4 assists, and Jacobson proved to be a reliable sidekick with 11 points and 3 assists more. Rakovic and Meshcharakou combined for nearly 30 points to pace Spartak to the win. There also promises to be an interesting rematch of a great battle between backup centers. Last week, Spartak’s Goran Suton had a double-double of 12 points and 11 boards while Andre Riddick scored 13 points and pulled in 8 rebounds for Spirou. And in the backcourt, Spirou’s Justin Hamilton will try and handle Spartak’s Zahkar Pashutin and Aleksey Zozulin. In their previous meeting, Spirou lost the game despite winning the battle of the boards, 38-32. If Spirou can shoot better from the line and continue to outrebound Spartak, it may very well finally get in the win column and revive its chances for advancing.
REFEREES: Daniel Hierrezuelo, Robert Lottermoser, Jasmina Juras
Monday, December 14, 2009