Turk Telekom avenged its only loss of the Eurcup season and moved into first place in Group D with a 73-65 win over Aris BSA 2003. Michael Wright missed just a single shot en route to 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead Telekom, which improved to 3-1 and can clinch a Last 16 berth with another win. Furthermore, Telekom gained any potential tiebreaker from Aris, which won their previous game by 4 points. Aris, which suffered its first loss, could have become the first team through from the group with a win. The game was close for a period-and-a-half, but Wright and Erwin Dudley helped the hosts muscle their way to a 44-36 halftime lead. Telekom’s advantage hit 13 in the third period, but a last-ditch run led by Sean Marshall, Spencer Nelson and Savvas Iliadis brought the visitors within 4 in the last period. But Aris then missed its next 12 field goals as Telekom rebuilt a comfortable lead and took the win. Dudley and Kennedy Winston each added 10 for Telekom, which outrebounded Aris 34-27 and blocked 8 shots to the visitors' 1. Nelson paced Aris with 13 points and 9 rebounds, Blagota Sekulic added 11 points and Iliadis had 10 in defeat.
The hosts started strong, as Tutku Acik set Winston up for the game's first basket and Winston returned the favor as Acik hit a three. Dimitrios Tsaldaris put Aris on the scoreboard with a triple, but Acik and Winston added baskets as Telekom went up 11-3. Aris came back on the strength of back-to-back threes from Nelson and Marshall and tied it at 15-15 on a Tsaldaris layup. Aris’s Sekulic matched Bekir Yarangume and Wright before Nikos Barlos made it 19-21 after 10 minutes. Serkan Erdogan’s triple and a Rod Blakney layup put Telekom back on top before Clark tied it at 24-24 from downtown as part of an exciting back-and-forth fight. The hosts suffered a blow when Asim Pars left the floor with a sprained ankle, but Dudley came in and scored on the offensive glass to put Telekom ahead. Erdogan hit from downtown and Wright scored in the paint as the lead reached 38-30. An Aris timeout didn’t slow the hosts down as Yarangume made it a double-digit advantage. Nelson cut the gap to 6, however a short jumper by Blakney made it 44-36 by halftime.
Telekom looked to pull away in the second half and stretched the lead to 10 three times, with Nelson and co. answering each time. But then a missed Aris attack was followed by an Acik layup to make it 54-42. Kris Lang extended the lead to 13 on the offensive glass, however Marshall rifled in a three and Iliadis added free throws to give Aris a fighting chance. Marshall would add another basket and a free throw to make it a 5-point game before Blakney’s three-pointer ended the third period at 60-52. Aris seemed to have more energy entering the fourth quarter and Iliadis twice to bring to life. Wright answered for the hosts, but Agadakos matched him. However the visitors soon lost some steam – missing their next 8 shots – and baskets by Acik and Winston soon bumped the lead back up to 8. The nail in the coffin came when Agadakos committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Winston, who had just stolen the ball from him. Winston made the free throws and Wright scored on the resulting possession to ice the game. Aris continued to struggle offensively as Telekom padded its advantage en route to victory.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008