|For its biggest Eurocup road win in more than three years, Galatasaray Cafe Crown topped host CEZ Nymburk 62-77 on Tuesday in the Czech Republic to vault back with both feet into the race for the Quarterfinals from Last 16, Group K. Galatasaray improved to 2-2 and third place in Group K, a victory behind second place with two Last 16 games remaining. Nymburk fell to 0-4 and was eliminated from Quarterfinals contention. A 17-point turnaround on the scoreboard - from Nymburk ahead 18-10 late in the first quarter to Galatasaray leading 32-41 at halftime - told the story of the game. The hosts came no closer than within 4 points of the lead as Galatasaray dominated in the paint and on the boards. Ermal Kuqo came off the bench to pour in 22 points in 25 minutes to lead the winners. Kuqo made 7 of 10 two-pointers, 2 of 3 triples and 2 of 2 free throws. His frontcourt mate, Luksa Andric, was just as efficient, with 17 points in 14 minutes, while Preston Shumpert added 14 points for Galatasaray, while Joshua Shipp played all 40 minutes, collecting 10 rebounds. For Nymburk, Tre Simmons had 18 points, Michal Kremen and Afik Nissim 11 each, but a 10-49 disparity in bench scoring for Galatasaray spelled the difference.
Kremen and Nissim put Nymburk up 6-2 within the game's first 2 minutes. Galatasaray relied on Andric for 6 points before Jerry Johnson tied it up 8-8 following Shipp's steal. Simmons answered from long-range for Nymburk and soon added a layup for a 15-10 advantage. Then, when Kremen nailed the hosts' fourth three-pointer, the lead was up to 18-10. Kuqo came in and immediately started scoring inside. Soon, after Caner Topaloglu's three-point play, Kuqo did the honors of tying the score and then completing a 1-12 run with a triple to end the first quarter with Galatasaray's first lead, 19-22. Simmons, from long range again, re-tied the game on the second quarter's first basket, but Shumpert joined Kuqo to fill an 0-8 scoring burst that kept Galatasaray in charge. Soon it was Kuqo, Tutku Acik, Shipp and Shumpert making yet another run for the visitors, this one 3-11, as Galatasaray cruised into halftime holding a 32-41 advantage.
Nymburk tried to react after halftime, with Kremen scoring 5 points in a 7-0 response to get within 39-43. Shumpert stopped that with a three-point play, however, to which Even Buker added 3 points on a single shot to re-open a double-digit lead, 39-49, for Galatasaray. Simmons and Kuqo dueled with a pair of baskets each toward the end of the third quarter, but the latter's free throws were worth Galatasaray's biggest lead yet, 13 points, before Nissim's basket to end the quarter cut the difference to 46-57. Kuqo and Acik kept pouring it on to push Galatasaray's lead to 46-61 to begin the final quarter. Even when Nissim tried to spark a Nymburk comeback, Galatasaray had plenty more contributors. Shumpert and Andric returned to make it 52-69 headed into the last 5 minutes. Vladimir Stimac took the next scoring turn for Nymburk, with 4 points in a row, but time ran out on the hosts in the game and in the competition. As Galatasaray swept their series to stay alive in Group K, Nymburk and its fans will have to wait until next year.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011