Maroussi BC took a step towards reaching the Euroleague regular season for the first time with a 79-70 victory over Alba Berlin on Tuesday in Game 1 of their second qualifying round home-and-away series. If Maroussi wins the second leg or loses by 8 points or fewer, it will punch a ticket to the Euroleague. Game 2 is set for Sunday evening at o2 World in the German capital. Alba came out swinging and built a double-digit lead in the second quarter before settling for a 30-38 halftime advantage. However Maroussi came out stronger for the second half as Dimitrios Mavroeidis scored 8 during a 19-4 run that turned the game on its head and Maroussi remained in control the rest of the way. Mavroeidis finished with 19 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes for the winners, Kostas Kaimakoglou added 16 points, Michalis Pelekanos had 14 and Billy Keys 12. Blagota Sekulic paced Berlin with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks, Rashad Wright and Immanuel McElroy scored 12 apiece and Julius Jenkins and Adam Chubb each netted 10.
Sekulic and Jenkins scored 5 fast points to give Alba an early 0-5 lead and control of the rhythm, while the hosts could not manage to find their tempo. Kaimakoglou got Maroussi on the scoreboard after three minutes and Pat Calathes added a basket on the offensive glass, but Jenkins scored from behind the arc to make it 6-12 for Berlin. Keys answered to cut the margin to 2, but the visitors used the pick-and-roll well and outrebounded Maroussi and when McElroy hit from downtown, Berlin was able to close the first quarter ahead 12-19.
Kenan Bajramovic gave his team a 9-point margin at the beginning of the second quarter, but Kaimakoglou scored back-to-back three-point shots and Pelekanos added a two-point basket for a 8-0 Maroussi run that cut the gap to 20-21. Alba didn’t panic and Sekulic and McElroy sparked a 0-8 run. Chubb scored down low as Berlin soon extended the lead to double digits, 26-37. Mavroeidis scored his first points of the game from the line, but Maroussi had still problems playing its usual game and Alba took a 30-38 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Μaroussi started the third period at full speed and with aggressive defense against the Berlin pick-and-rolls. Kaimakoglou ignited the charge with a triple and the hosts soon found their way to the basket led by Mavroeidis, who scored 4 straight points to give Maroussi its very first lead, 40-38. Alba committed many turnovers under Maroussi’s pressure and didn't have offensive alternatives. Pelekanos heated up alongside Mavroeidis as Maroussi reeled off 12 unanswered points to go ahead 49-42. Wright finally ended Berlin’s drought, but Keys nailed a triple and Mavroeidis’s basket on the offensive glass gave Maroussi a 10-point lead. Chubb converted a three-point play to keep Berlin within 58-51 after 30 minutes of playing.
Dragan Dojcin bagged a three pointer early in the fourth period to get Alba within 60-54, but Mavroeidis seemed unstoppable and brought the hosts to 65-56. The visitors reacted and cut the margin to 68-65 on a Wright triple and a Steffen Hamann slam, but Maroussi came up with another 7-0 spurt highlighted by a three by Kaimakoglou to get to 75-65. Then Pelekanos sank a big three to soar to 78-66. Still Berlin pressed on as baskets by Dojcin and McElroy narrowed the deficit to 9 to leave Berlin some hope for next week. Nevertheless, Jamon Lucas finalized the scoring from the line as Maroussi closed out an important win.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009