| Alba Berlin finished the regular season on a high note and ended Azovmash Mariupol’s season with an 82-78 win at o2 World in the German capital on Tuesday. With the win, Alba improved to 5-1 to win Group A. It advances to Last 16 Group I, where it will meet Aris BSA 2003, Le Mans and DKV Joventut. Azovmash fell to 2-4 and will try to do better next year. In a close game that went back and forth several times, Azovmash looked to have things wrapped up when it went up 68-76 with four minutes to go. However Rashad Wright and Immanuel McElroy scored 4 points each in an 11-0 run and Azovmash had no timely response, costing it a spot in the Last 16. Julius Jenkins led Berlin scorers with 17 points, McElroy finished with 15, Adam Chubb 14, Wright 12 and Blagota Sekulic 11. Demetrius Alexander scored 21 to lead Azovmash in his debut, Hasan Rizvic netted 16, Rolandas Jarutis tallied 14 points and 7 assists, Erik Daniels posted 12 points and 12 rebounds and Fred House scored 10 in defeat.
Azovmash went to work inside early resulting in points from Rizvic and Erik Daniels, but a Wright triple gave the hosts a 5-4 edge. Jarutis responded from downtown and Fred House’s steal and free throws resulted an Azovmash advantage. Alexander came off the bench and scored and House added a steal and slam before Rizvic scored 2 more from the line to make it 7-15. Jurica Golemac corrected his own miss, but Alexander’s three made it 9-18. McElroy came to life with free throws, a steal and a layup, but Jarutis bettered him with free throws and a three-pointer. Chubb’s three-point play brought Berlin within 17-23 after 10 minutes. Jenkins took over at the start of the second quarter with two quick baskets. Rizvic countered before a Jenkins triple made it 24-25. Alexander stepped up with a basket and 2 free throws. Golemac scored again on the offensive glass, but Jarutis heated up with a basket and steal and assist to Rizvic that put Azovmash ahead 26-33. Golemac continued to clean the offensive boards before burying a three to narrow the gap to 4. Alexander and Rizvic both scored inside before Bogdan Bayda’s steal and layup gave the visitors a double-digit lead. McElroy and Rashad Wright teamed up for three straight Berlin baskets, but Alexander made it 37-43 for his team at the half.
Daniels opened the second half with a three-pointer, but it was Berlin poised to make a run. A Jenkins tripled and 4 points from Sekulic helped Berlin get within 2. The teams traded baskets until Alexander upped the Azovmash edge to 47-52. Alba came right back with a Dragan Dojcin three and basket-plus-foul by Jenkins. Adam Chubb capped an 8-0 spurt for a 3-point Alba edge. Daniels continued his strong third quarter with a basket to tie the game and a foul shot that made it 59-60. The lead changed hands on baskets by Chubb and Jarutis before settling at 61-62 at the end of the quarter. The lead continued to sway early in the fourth quarter. Chubb put Berlin ahead, Fred House tied the score, Derrick Byars gave Alba the edge, Alexander put Azovmash on top. But then Berlin blinked. After McElroy brought the hosts within 67-68, baskets by Alexander, House, Daniels and Rizvic accounted for a 1-8 spurt and an important 8-point edge. Sekulic scored on the offensive glass, Wright drove to the basket and McElroy made it 74-76 to revitalize the game with two minutes to go. After a timeout, McElroy tied the score from the line. Everythign seemed to fall apart for Azovmash as Wright finished an 11-0 Alba run for a 79-78 lead. House finally ended the drought with 2 free throws to make it 79-78, but Alba had the ball last and Wright drew a foul attempting a three, sank 3 free throws and sealed the victory, ending Azovmash’s season.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010