| Belgacom Spirou Basket survived the first Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Round by edging BC Donetsk 61-59 in Charleroi, Belgium on Thursday. Spirou keeps the chance to return to the Euroleague for a second consecutive season and will face Alba Berlin in the next round at the Spiroudome on Saturday. Both teams met in last season's final Qualifying Round, which Spirou won to seal its ticket to the 2010-11 Euroleague. Donetsk will make its Eurocup debut in the 2011-12 season. Jiri Welsch led the winners with 13 points. Justin Hamilton added 10, including a key three-pointer in the final minute. Michael Lee had 13 points for Donetsk while Ivan Radenovic added 11. Donetsk led for the best part of the game, getting a 21-28 margin at halftime behind an outstanding Lee. Free throws by Dmytro Glebov gave Donetsk its only double-digit lead, 24-34. Welsch led Spirou's comeback and the hosts got a 51-47 margin midway through the fourth quarter. Spirou missed 6 free throws in the final 33 seconds, giving Donetsk the chance to win the game at the buzzer but Vule Avdalovic missed a desperation shot from downtown.
Christophe Beghin got Spirou going with a five-meter baseline jumper, as the hosts held Donetsk scoreless in the opening 2 minutes. A backdoor layup by Toko Shengeila soon gave Spirou a 4-0 lead. Avdalovic rescued Donetsk with a three-pointer from the right wing and a jumper by Maksym Pustozvonov allowed his team to get its first lead, 4-5. Vitaliy Kovalenko capped a 0-7 Donetsk run with a driving layup, as Shengeila quickly answered from downtown to tie the game at 7-7. Jiri Welsch stepped up with a corner jumper but the hosts struggled against Donetsk's effective zone defense. Meanwhile, Pustozvonov and DeMarcus Nelson led a 0-6 run that Radenovic capped with a big basket to give Donetsk a 9-13 lead. Free throws by Welsch and Glebov fixed the score at 10-14 after 10 minutes.
Donetsk kept dominating the game with outstanding defense, as Spirou could not find the way to the basket. Radenovic split free throws but Welsch did not miss from the line to get the hosts within 12-15. Glebov scored off a steal and a jumper by Lee allowed Donetsk to boost its margin to 12-19. Ramel Curry fed Lee for a bid dunk that soon made it a nine-point game, 12-21. A huge diving save by Beghin allowed Welsch to knock down an open jumper and a three-pointer by Hamilton forced coach Sasa Obradovic to stop the game at 17-21. Lee stepped up with a six-meter jumper and Nelson collected a midcourt steal for an easy layup that gave Donetsk some fresh air, 17-23. Nelson kept finding easy points for Donetsk but Beghin and Caleb Green kept Spirou within 21-28 at halftime.
Glebov scored right after the break but Dwayne Broyles answered from downtown to get Spirou as close as 24-30. Points came the hard way too in a very defensive start of the second half but another dunk by Lee restored a 24-32 Donetsk edge. Free throws by Glebov soon allowed the guests to get their first double-digit lead, 24-34. Riddick hit his trademark jump hook in the low post and soon added a power layup to bring Spirou back to life, 28-34. Chris Hill followed free throws with a bomb from downtown that made it a one-point game, 33-34, after a 9-0 run. Radenovic made 4-of-4 foul shots but a fast break layup by Broyles kept Spirou within 35-38. Beghin downed foul shots but Advalovic and Kovalenko allowed Donetsk to restore a 37-41 lead. Green shined with a three-point play but free throws by Lee helped the guests to keep a 40-43 edge after 30 minutes.
Donetsk tried a 3-2 zone defense early in the fourth quarter but Hamilton punished it with a three-pointer to tie it at 43-43. Lee briefly silenced the crowd with a dunk, as the game turned into a physical battle, with players diving for loose balls. Welsch followed a jump hook witth a wild driving layup that made Spirou regain the lead for the first time since the opening minutes, 47-45. Beghin hit a jump hook that Vyacheslav Kravtsov matched with a two-handed dunk. Welsch - who else? - knocked down a jumper but free throws by Nelson and another dunk by Kravtsov tied it at 51-51. Green buried a critical three-pointer by Kratsov took over with a wild alleyoop slam. Riddick split foul shots and a reverse layup by Radenovic provided a 55-55 tie with 2:45 left. Green made 1-of-2 free throws and a big block by Riddick allowed Hamilton to nail a critical three-pointer, 59-55, already in the final minute. Free throws by Mallet and Hamilton seemed to seal the outcome, 61-56, with 18 seconds left. Spirou missed 4 free throws in crunch time and Donetsk had a final chance to win the game but Avdalovic missed from downtown at the buzzer.
Thursday, September 29, 2011