| Belgacom Spirou Basket established itself as the king of qualifying for the second year in a row by routing CEZ Nymburk 79-53 at the Spiroudome in Charleroi, Belgium, to advance to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season. The Belgian champs pulled away in the second quarter to take a 34-21 halftime lead and never looked back as the margin crossed the 30-point mark in the fourth quarter. Chris Hill shined with 21 points and 12 rebounds, Demond Mallet scored 18, Caleb Green had 12, Christophe Beghin 11 and Jiri Welsch dished 7 assists for the winners. Head coach Giovanni Bozzi’s squad advances to Euroleague Regular Season Group C, where it will meet Anadolu Efes, Emporio Armani Milano, Maccabi Electra, Partizan m:ts and Real Madrid, which Spirou will host on opening night, October 20. Eugene Lawrence paced Nymbutk with 10 points. The Czech champs, who impressed Saturday by knocking out BC Khimki Moscow Region, never got on track against Spirou. In addition to its shooting woes, Nymburk was alos outrebounded 48-32. Head coach Ronen Ginzburg’s men will now play in the 2011-12 Eurocup Regular Season.
Welsch opened the scoring with a fastbreak layup for the hosts, who soon got another just like it from Justin Hamilton. When Tornike Shengelia banked in a runner, Spirou was up 6-0. Petr Benda broke Nymburk's drought with a tip-in, but it was clear already that Spirou planned to rev up the tempo to test Nymburk's energy reserves on its third game in as many nights. Beghin owned the inside with back-to-back baskets for a 10-2 Spirou lead and a quick Nymburk timeout. Tre Simmons hit his first basket after that, and soon Lawrence got on the scoreboard, too, cutting the difference to 10-9. Chris Hill's free throws for Spirou were then matched by a running jumper from Simmons. When Mike Lenzly broke loose for a fastbreak layup, Nymburk had its first advantage, 12-13. However, Green's corner triple put the lead back in Spirou's hands, 15-13, after 10 minutes.
The defenses continued to dominate in the second quarter, blocking shots and drawing charges until Lamayne Wilson tied it up, 15-15, with a baseline jumper. Spirou reacted with quick baskets by Hill and Welsch, which was saying something with points at a premium now. Nymburk looked too tired to get to the basket, while Hill popped high off the mark to down a jumper at 21-15. Green's next points, on a breakaway dunk, ignited the crowd, and Mallet did so even more with a nothing-but-the-net triple at 26-17. Once Green scored on a three-point play and Mallet on a transition jumper, it was 31-17 and Nymburk looked rudderless. Simmons got a two-pointer and Radek Necas a pair of free throws to fall before halftime, but in between, Mallet struck from long-range again, assuring Spirou a comfy 34-21 halftime gap.
The home team came out for the second half looking to end the game early. A Hill triple and a Mallet layup lifted the Spirou advantage to 18. Petr Benda stepped up and nailed a long jumper, but it was not enough to change the momentum. Hill nailed another three to put 44-24 on the scoreboard. Lukas Palyza got to the hole for a laup only to see Toko Shengelia better him with a basket-plus-foul. Beghin put the hosts up 21 from the line and Mallet made it 22. Mike Lenzly’s free throws and three-pointer had little impact as Mallet came back from downtown. 4 Pavel Pumprla free throws drew Nymburk to 54-36 entering the final quarter.
Beghin made it 20 at the start of the fourth quarter. Nymburk never quit and Lenzly laid his body out for a loose ball, but the shots simply did not fall. Pumprla shined for a moment with a steal and slam. Mallet ended any doubts about the outcome with a triple before a Welsch steal set Hill up for a layup-plus-foul, which also landed Benda a technical foul. After Hill sank 3 free throws and Beghin 2 more, the lead hit 68-38. Lawrence drained a three for Nymburk and then got to the line as the visitors never stopped playing. Palyza also connected from downtown. But the Czech champs’ efforts were now too little, too late. The local fans sang over the final minutes as Spirou marked a second straight season in the Euroleague.
Sunday, October 2, 2011