| Aris BSA 2003 came from behind to beat Budivelnik on the road Tuesday night 73-78, a result that keeps Aris’s quarterfinals hopes alive. Bobby Brown scored 24 points and dished 5 assists to pace the winners, who improved to 2-3 in Group J. Budivelnik dropped to 3-2 and must win next week to avoid a tiebreaker that could keep it out of the next stage. The hosts led 42-27 at halftime, but Brown and co. opened the second half with a 1-17 charge to get back in the game. Christos Tapoutos added 16 points and P.J. Tucker posted 15 points and 15 rebounds for the winners. For Budivelnik, Billy Keys scored 17 and Zach Morley and Andriy Agafanov netted 12 apiece and combined to grab 17 boards in defeat. Budivelnik will close out the Last 16 with a road game at BG Goettingen, while Aris will host Le Mans.
The game was a well-balanced act by both sides from the start. The hosts pushed the tempo with an aggressive Keys running the point and setting up Morley with good inside position, while Aris responded with consistent penetration from playmaker Brown and some heavy lifting from center Gaios Skordilis in the paint. The Morley-Skordilis duel made for good theater in the first quarter, almost as much as the Brown-Keys matchup. The visiting guard had the upper hand early, finishing the quarter with 7 points, though it was Keys’s side that entered the second quarter on top, 20-14. As Budivelnik adjusted defensively, buckets became harder to come by for Aris. The hosts’ good ball movement on offense also was cause for concern for Aris head coach Lefteris Subotic. Morley kept attacking the paint with a variety of post-up moves and the difference reached double digits, 30-20, after a clean turnaround bank shot by the big man. Agafonov lifted the lead to a high of 15 with his 10th point to make it 42-27 at halftime.
Aris came out of the break with renewed intensity, especially on the defensive end, and got back in the hunt thanks to Nikos Hatzivrettas’s second and third triples of the night. A 13-0 run to start the third quarter forced Budivelnik head coach Josep Maria Berrocal to call timeout. The relentless crashing of the offensive boards by Aris’s big men finally paid dividends, as the visitors were able to leap in front, 43-44, when Tapoutos converted a beautiful three-point play. As Budivelnik struggled from the perimeter, it wasn´t until Dee Spencer hit a jumper that the hosts scored their first field goal of the quarter, with only two minutes left in it. Budivelnik was able to regain some momentum in the quarter’s closing minutes, not to mention the lead, as Keys drained a long triple off a pick-and-roll before Brown closed the scoring, setting the table at 53-50 with only 10 minutes left. Agafonov hinted at the hosts’ regained mojo with a powerful two-handed dunk at the start of the fourth, but Brown answered again with a breakaway slam in the thick of a 0-9 run that put Aris on top once more, 58-60, with five minutes left in the game. Berrocal called timeout, but the run only grew to 7-17 after a Tapoutos triple gashed the wound again. Budivelnik was then able to score 5 unanswered points to close to 64-67 with 2:41 left. Tapoutos and Dmytro Zabirchenko traded triples and Kostas Charalampidis added another to keep it a 3-point game with 1:18 to go after a Keys layup. But Brown dropped a gorgeous running teardrop in response. A tough Lamayne Wilson bank shot kept the difference at 71-74, but after Wilson missed a wide-open three-pointer following a Keys steal, Charalampidis nailed 2 free throws to make it a 5-point difference and Tucker followed suit to seal the deal for Aris.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011