| Aris BSA 2003 went on a shooting spree away from home to seize first place in Group C with a 79-89 victory at Hapoel Jerusalem on Tuesday. Both teams were already qualified for the Last 16, so Aris finished 5-1. Hapoel fell to 3-3, actually tied for second place with Zadar, but having already decided their head-to-head tiebreak prior to the last regular season game. Aris raced to double-digit leads with an early barrage of three-point shots, but Hapoel came back and took a second-quarter lead before the visitors re-established themselves. Aris ended up making 14 of 21 of its triple attempts to stop every Hapoel attempt at a comeback. Keydren Clark paced the winners with 22 points, including 4 three-pointes, and 6 assists. Jeremy Richardson was right behind with 21 points on 5 triples. Dimos Dikoudis added 12 points and Michalis Kakiouzis 11, combining to go 4 for 4 from downtown. For Hapoel, Dijon Thompson pumped in 19 points, Uri Kokia 15, Pooh Jeter 13 and Tre Simmons 12. As such, Aris joins Group I of the Last 16 with Alba Berlin, Le Mans and DKV Joventut as its opponents. Hapoel joins Group J to face Power Electric Valencia, Unica Kazan and Galatasaray Café Crown.
Jerusalem fans saw some high-powered scoring from the start, although back-to-back triples by Richardson and Kakiouzis put Aris in charge at 5-9. Although Brandon Hunter and Thompson were scoring for Hapoel, Betts got involved with a pair of layups, Richardson added his own, while Keydren Clark and Ivan Paunic quickly turned a 2-10 Aris run into an 13-23 lead. Kakiouzis kept the scoring rhythm for the guests with a triple and free throws as Aris coasted to a 21-32 lead after 10 minutes. Hapoel's defense came out ready for the second quarter and held Aris to 5 points in as many minutes while the hosts ate into the difference. Yuval Naimy completed the turnaround with a layup followed by a go-ahead triple at 36-35 as the crowd went wild in Jerusalem. The lead switched hands as Clark and Leo Lyons exchanged two-pointers, but then Richardson measured well from long-distance to put Aris ahead again, 38-40. The pendulum had swung again and Dimos Dikoudis and newcomer Dragan Labovic joining the fun, Aris took off to a 40-48 halftime edge.
Clark kept up the pressure for Aris after the break, firing the guests back into double-digit territory with their first 10 points, including back-to-back triples at 46-58. Richardson added a third and a fourth triple in a row for Aris at 50-64, as it seemed that Aris was getting an extra point for every pair that Hapoel was getting from Thompson and Hunter. The triples kept flying for the visitors as, after a lull, Clark and Kakiouzis buried their own before Hapoel cut it to 60-70 after three quarters. Hapoel shored up its defense and finally trimmed the lead to single digits as Kokia, Simmons, Jeter and Thompson turned an 8-0 burst into a close game again, 72-76. After Dikoudis and Jeter traded triples, it was 75-79 entering the next-to-last minute. Jeter's free throws cut it further, to 77-81.When Aris went to the line, Paunic and Clark were perfect, extending the difference to 77-85 on the way to a group-winning victory for the visitors.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010