| PAOK dominated from the start and led by 18 points after 10 minutes en route to a convincing 92-74 victory over Chorale Roanne on Tuesday. Rawle Marshall scored 23 points and Robert Dozier added 21 as PAOK picked up its first win of the Eurocup season and kept Roanne winless. Lazaros Papadopoulos scored 15 and totaled 7 boards, Todor Gecevski tallied 10 and 11 and Donnie McGrath scored 10 points for the home team. Uche Nsonwu paced Roanne with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while K.C. Rivers and Souleyman Diabate netted 14 and 11 points, respectively. Roanne will host PAOK next week in France targeting its first win.
PAOK attacked the rim early and tried to establish a dominating post presence with Papadopoulos, as its first four baskets were either layups or dunks. But the same could be said for Roanne, whose lone first quarter jumper came courtesy of Braud Philippe in the closing minute. It was Nsonwu who hit first with a couple of inside moves, but the 2-4 start was as big a margin as the visitors would enjoy. A Justin Gray slam tied it and Dozier went to work after that for the hosts, tallying 9 points in the first quarter, which finished with a 26-8 run, 4 visiting turnovers and a promising 32-14 lead for PAOK. Roanne tried to force the issue to start the second, settling for long shots in sharp contrast to PAOK’s insistence on a post game centered on Papadopoulos’s intimidating presence. Alexis Tanghe gave the visitors hope when he hit his first triple and Dylan Page and Jean Michel Mipoka converted a couple more. But overall, Roanne missed 5 three pointers in the period and, more significantly, went away from Nsonwu in the paint. Most problematic for Roanne head coach Jean Denys Choulet was the heating up of Gecevski for the hosts. If Papadopoulos wasn’t enough of a concern, the talented big man went for 7 points in the second quarter, even hitting from three-point territory, and fueling a 45-25 lead. Roanne decided then to get back to the basics with Nsonwu and Rivers getting into the mix, and would have ended the half on a high note with a 2-13 run, if not for a final Dozier triple that left things 50-38 at the break.
A role reversal ensued at the start of the third quarter, as Giorgios Apostolidis and McGrath scored from long range for PAOK and Roanne plowed through near the rim, but the Nsonwu-Papadopoulos duel eventually regained center stage, and the two big men offered some intense back and forth moments with no clear cut winner. The setting was prime for other performers to appear, and Marshall took a step forward for the hosts, putting a 75-53 lead on the board as the biggest margin, as did Diabate for the visitors with a complete basketball display of baskets, steals, assists and rebounds. At the end of three though, not much had changed with PAOK still on top, 76-62 after a Rivers triple.
Ten minutes away from their first Eurocup win, PAOK did not let go, as Marshall took matters into his own hands, scoring the first bucket of the period and 8 points in a 14-6 run that finally put Roanne away for good. Unable to hit from the perimeter, Choulet’s crew settled for inside baskets in the closing minutes, never getting closer than 15 points in the quarter and ultimately falling to 0-3 in the Group F standings.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010