SIG Basket Strasbourg became the first-ever French team to advance to the ULEB Cup quarterfinals by downing archrivals Sluc Nancy Basket 74-86 to sweep their two-way eighthfinal series. Strasbourg had already beaten Nancy 89-86 in the 1st leg at home and will face Lietuvos Rytas in the next round. Chuck Eidson, who earned ULEB Cup MVP honors in the eighthfinals' 1st leg, shined again with 25 points on 8-of-13 two-pointers and 6 assists. Afik Nissim added 15, Aerick Sanders and Sacha Giffa each had 13 while Claude Marquis got 11 apiece for Strasbourg, that overcame Lonnie Cooper's injury in style. Cedrick Banks had 20 points on 9-of-12 two-pointers for Nancy, that was without center Maxime Zianveni. Ricky Soliver added 17 points, Tariq Kirksay 12 and Cyril Julian 11 for the hosts. Strasbourg broke the game in the second quarter and got a 19-38 margin led by an outstanding Eidson. Strasbourg still led 57-71 with 4 minutes to go and even when Nancy got within 70-76, Eidson rounded a big game with 4 key points down the stretch.
Eidson shined with back-to-back baskets in a 0-6 Strasbourg opening run that Sanders capped with a put-back dunk. Julian got Nancy going with a mid-range jumper and Branko Milisavljevic added a floating jumper to bring the hosts within 4-8. Marquis scored around the basket but Kirksay answered from downtown and Banks shined with a driving layup for a 9-10 Nancy deficit. Eidson scored again and fed Sanders for a reverse layup, but Banks followed a jumper with a layup to get Nancy within 13-14. Nissim stroke twice from downtown and Giffa added a turnaround jumper to give Strasbourg a 15-22 lead at the end of the first quarter. Nissim kept pacing Strasbourg with free throws, as Nancy went scoreless in the opening 3 minutes of the second quarter. Eidson scored off a steal but Julian matched it with a short shot. Giffa shined with a three-point play to make Nancy call timeout, while Michael Smith buried one from downtown for a 17-31 Strasbourg margin. Julian and Marquis traded layups but Strasbourg kept dominating the game tempo with intense defense. Eidson scored in the low post and Giffa hit a running triple to make it a 18-point game, 19-38. Julian and Dan McClintock fueled a 7-0 Nancy run but Sanders scored inside and Eidson added a five-meter jumper for a 28-42 Strasbourg margin at halftime.
Sanders scored inside right after the break and Marquis added a put-back basket, as Nancy struggled to score early in the third quarter. The hosts called timeout and improved their defensive pressure but Eidson beat the shot clock buzzer with a triple, good for a 28-49 Strasbourg margin. Julian stepped up with a three-point play but Nissim answered from downtown. Soliver and Giffa also traded baskets while Kirksay hit his second triple for a 36-54 Nancy deficit. Strasbourg had now opted to use long possessions without much success. Meanwhile, free throws by Banks and Kirksay got Nancy within 40-54. Giffa found a three-point play, Marquis dunked it and Smith beat the buzzer with a three-pointer for a 44-63 Strasbourg margin after three quarters. The outcome of the series was clear but Nancy kept battling to return to the game. Soliver made free throws and McClintock added a jumper but Eidson found another electric driving layup and fed John McCord for a jumper, good for a 50-67 SIG lead. Soliver stepped up with consecutive layup but Nissim banked in a short jumper and Eidson hit free throws to keep his team ahead, 57-71, with 4 minutes to go. Banks and Kirksay brought Nancy within 63-73, forcing Strasbourg to call timeout. Free throws by Soliver and a power basket by Banks gave Nancy some hope at 67-74. Eidson followed free throws with a dunk, sealing his big game and allowed Strasbourg to keep fighting for ULEB Cup glory.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007