Prokom Trefl Sopot took a crucial step towards its goal of making it to the Top 16 in Group A by beating Le Mans 73-84 on the road in France on Wednesday night. Prokom improved to 4-5 and is fifth in the Group A standings, while Le Mans dropped to 3-6 and is sixth. Prokom has already beaten Le Mans twice, so it has a crucial advantage if both teams are tied at the end of the regular season. Huseyin Besok led the winners with 18 points in his first game in Le Mans since leading his former team to both the French League and the French Semaine des As titles last season. Adam Wojcik and Michael Andersen each added 11 points for Prokom. Eric Campbell had 13 points for Le Mans, Nebojsa Bogavac and Yannick Bokolo each added 11 while Kenny Gregory tallied 10 for Le Mans, which trailed throughout the second half, but got within 60-66 with 8 minutes to go. Andersen, Besok and Jeff Nordgaard fueled a 2-11 run which allowed Prokom to seal a well-deserved win.
Donatas Slanina followed a three-pointer from the left wing with a jumper to give Prokom an early 2-5 lead. Christian Dalmau also hit one from downtown and soon added a big block on Tyson Wheeler to help Prokom keep its momentum going. Besok capped a 0-10 Prokom run with a close basket, but Campbell answered from downtown to get Le Mans to 5-10. Besok scored again, but soon picked up his second foul and went to the bench. A red-hot Slanina fired in another shot, but Pape Philippe Amagou answered from downtown and Campbell added a put-back layup, causing Prokom to call timeout at 11-14. Sandro Nicevic hit four free throws, but more foul shots from Andersen and a triple by Jasmin Hukic kept Prokom ahead, 15-19. Campbell scored inside, igniting an 8-0 Le Mans run in which Bogavac had 5 points, including a triple to give Le Mans a 23-19 lead. Rashid Atkins answered from downtown to get Prokom within 23-22 after 10 minutes.
The scoring pace slowed down in the opening minutes of the second quarter, until Nicevic fed Bokolo for a layup. Prokom found a go-to guy in Andersen, who followed a free throw with a dunk to tie it at 25-25. Nicolas Batum scored inside, but Andersen scored again and Wojcik added a fast-break layup to help Prokom regain the lead, 27-29. Le Mans called timeout and Batum paced the hosts with free throws, but an unstoppable Andersen dunked again. Bokolo stepped up with a three-pointer, but Wojcik hit his trademark jumper and Dalmau added his second triple to keep Prokom ahead, 32-36, after 17 minutes. Le Mans struggled to score, but Campbell hit a free throw and Batum dunked to bring the hosts back to life. Atkins fed Wojcik for a layup-plus-foul and Dalmau added a basket, but Bokolo beat the buzzer with a triple to bring Le Mans within 38-41 at halftime.
Slanina found his rhythm right after the break as his layup ignited a 0-6 Prokom run, during which Besok nailed back-to-back jumpers to make it a 9-point game. Le Mans was not done, however, as Gregory scored inside, Amagou added free throws and Nicevic buried a jumper to bring the hosts back to life at 44-47. Justin Hamilton fired in one from downtown and then Dalmau matched Gregory's layup with a mid-range jumper to keep Prokom ahead, 46-52. Besok shined with a put-back layup and even after Gregory buried a triple, he added another basket to force a Le Mans timeout at 49-56. Koffi scored off a steal, but Besok was on fire. He scored in the paint while Tomas Masiulis buried one from downtown to boost Prokom's lead to 51-61. Dalmau nailed another triple, but Bokolo's layup got Le Mans within 54-64 after three quarters.
Bogavac tried to ignit a Le Mans comeback with a three-pointer, but Nordgaard quickly answered with a jumper. Bogavac fired in another one from downtown to get the hosts within 60-66. Andersen buried a short jumper, which Nordgaard followed with a big triple that made it an 11-point game, 60-71, with under 7 minutes to go. Batum tried to change things with a basket in the paint, while Prokom continued to run its offense through Besok with less success now, so it called a quick timeout. Wojcik scored twice around the basket, while Le Mans committed 6 turnovers in as many minutes. Meanwhile, Besok capped a 0-6 Prokom run, during which he gave the guests their biggest margin yet, 62-77. Even after Besok's next basket, Amagou, Campbell and Gregory combined for all the points in a 7-0 run that gave Le Mans some hope, 71-79, with 2 minutes to go. Prokom called timeout and did not panic, as free throws by Hamilton, Atkins and Nordgaard down the stretch sealed a key road win.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006