Strasbourg stayed alive in the Group A race for the Top 16 when it downed visiting AEK 70-66 on Wednesday. Strasbourg improved to 3-5 and could tie for fifth place before the week is finished. Meanwhile, AEK dropped to 2-6 and lost its fifth straight game. K'Zell Wesson led the winners with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Sacha Giffa also had 13 points and Alvin Young added 11, but Jeff Greer was the hero by hitting a critical three-pointer with 26 seconds to go. His brother Ricardo Greer, who led the index ranking standings entering this week, went scoreless. Taylor Coppenrath led AEK with 16 points. Slaven Rimac had 14 points and Lionel Chalmers 12 for the guests. Strasbourg overcame a 0-10 start to lead 18-16 after 10 minutes and 35-28 at halftime. Another 0-10 run gave AEK a 37-38 edge, but Jeff Greer helped Strasbourg restory a 50-43 margin after 30 minutes. AEK got as close as 66-64 in the game's final minute, before Jeff Greer saved the day for Strasbourg from downtown.
Chalmers shined early for AEK, combining a short jumper with a fastbreak layup in a 0-10 run in which Coppenrath beat the shot clock with a jump shot and Giannis Boroussis dunked. Strasbourg called timeout. The hosts went scoreless for almost 4 minutes until Ondrej Starosta managed a tip-in, then followed it with an inside shot and a dunk. AEK struggled as Wesson made free throws to get Strasbourg within 8-10. AEK could not beat Strasbourg's strong defense until Panteleimon Papaioakim and Spyros Panteliadis made 2 free throws apiece to keep the guests ahead, 10-14. But then Young fired in a long two-pointer and added foul shots to tie, then jumpers by Stanley Jackson and Giffa let Strasbourg take its first lead, 18-16, after 10 minutes.
John McCord added to the lead from the paint to start the second quarter, but Ioannis Kalambokis matched him with a driving layup for AEK. Crawford Palmer and Amir Tamit of AEKexchanged baskets, too, as Strasbourg tried to speed up the pace. Young slashed for a layup and Giffa scored off a steal to boost the lead to 26-20. AEK called timeout, but a red hot Giffa nailed another jump shot. AEK suffered poor shot selection until Coppenrath made the guests' first basket in more than 5 minutes. Aymeric Jeanneau's three-point play ignited a new 7-0 run for Strasbourg, which Wesson capped with a bank shot, good for a 35-23 lead. Panteliadis came to the rescue with a basket-plus-foul that Coppenrath followed with a mid-range jumper to bring AEK within 35-28 at halftime.
Even when Young scored off a steal for a 37-28 lead, Strasbourg lost its focus after the break. AEK took over as Chalmers hit a floater and Bouroussis a turnaround shot while Panteliadis and Coppenrath made free throws to get the visitors back in the game at 39-38. Strasbourg struggled in both ends, while Coppenrath capped a 0-10 run that gave AEK the lead, 37-38. Strasbourg had gone scoreless for 6 long minutes, but Giffa nailed a three-pointer from the left side to restore the home advantage, 40-38. Wesson followed it with a power basket, forcing an AEK timeout at 42-38. Jeff Greer capped a 8-0 run with a three-pointer against AEK's zone defense, and soon made another bomb from downtown to which Wesson added a buzzer-beating jumper that kept Strasbourg up 50-43 after 30 minutes.
Both teams went scoreless for 2 minutes until Giffa fed McCord for a basket-plus-foul which gave Strasbourg a 53-43 lead. Rimac tired to change things with a fast break layup which Jeanneau matched with a short jumper. Rimac kept AEK in the game with a bomb from downtown which Coppenrath followed with a basket-plus-foul which made it a four-point game, 55-51, with under 7 minutes to go. McCord followed free throws with an uncontested layup to keep Strasbourg ahead, 60-51. Rimac and Wesson exchanged easy baskets, but Bouroussis made 4 free throws to bring AEK within 62-57. Giffa fired in a critical jumper and Wesson kept rolling with a layup for a 66-59 Strasbourg edge with under 2 minutes remaining. Michalis Pelekanos made a free throw and Chalmers buried a three to get AEK within 66-63 already in the final minute. Once again Chalmers made 1 of 2 free throws with 41 seconds to go, but Jeff Greer sealed the outcome with a big three which sealed the outcome and made a sellout crowd explode with joy, as Strasbourg had registered its third Euroleague win of the season!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005