| German powerhouse Alba Berlin will continue trying to return to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague after rallying to win its first qualifying round series with a 95-82 home victory against Chorale Roanne of France on Friday. A 19-4 scoring blast bridging the third and fourth quarters did the trick for Alba, turning what was a tie series until then - due to Roanne's 86-79 victory in their first game - into a reason for Berlin fans to look forward to next week. Alba will host Hemofarm Stada in the first game of the second round next Tuesday, then visit the same opponent in Vrsac, Serbia on Friday. Chorale Roanne will now play the 2010-11 season in the Eurocup. Julius Jenkins stepped up as Alba's leader again with 23 points and 5 assists. Derrick Allen followed with 20 points while Tadija Dragicevic and Hollis Price added 11 each. Kelvin Rivers and Alex Gordon had 18 each for Roanne, trying to shoot the visitors closer to the finish, but Alba's fourth-quarter leads of up to 22 points proved too much. Pape Amagou added 16 points for Roanne, Uchenna Nsonwu 11 and Alex Dunn 10. Alba's 66% accuracy from two-point range, thanks to a 20-12 edge in assists, proved the key to claiming the series.
With 7 points at its back from the first game, Roanne added a 0-5 start highighted by Amagou's first three-pointer. When Alexis Tanghe, Souleyman Diabate and Rivers joined him with strikes from the arc, Roanne led 8-14. Alba had its own three-pointer threat, however, and with back-to-back shots from deep, Dragicevic tied it up 16-16. Despite a later go-ahead triple by Dunn for Roanne, Alba used a pair of layups by Jenkins and plenty of free throws to stay a step ahead, 25-23, after 10 minutes. Try as it might - with baskets by Price, Allen, Jenkins and Patrick Femerling - Alba couldn't boost its lead above the psychological barrier of 6 points, the last time at 35-29. Roanne broke back with a 0-6 run and soon took the lead at 37-40 on layups by Amagou and Rivers. Alba responded with an 11-4 blast in which Jenkins and Allen shared all but 2 points to reach halftime ahead 48-44, in clear striking distance of the series lead.
Alba not only reached the seven-point barrier immediately after halftime, but broke it down. Dragicevic lit the fuse on an 11-3 run that ended with baskets by Allen, Jenkins and Yassin Idbihi to suddenly make it a 59-47 scoreboard. Dunn and Nsonwu tried to snap Roanne out of its funk, but Alba kept is double-digit lead with solid defense. Even when Rivers buried a triple to make it 61-54 - a series tie - Price, Lucca Staiger and Jenkins combined for 4 consecutive bombs from downtown to practically settle the series with a 73-55 score after 3 quarters. Allen's basket to open the final quarter was good for a 20-point lead which the hosts followed soon with 6 minutes of allowing Roanne only free throws. That ended with another basket by Allen to preserve the difference at 88-68 with 3 minutes left. Roanne got a pair of late three-pointers from Gordon and another from Rivers to make it 93-82 in the closing seconds, but it was already too late. Alba was heading to the second qualifying round and Roanne to the Eurocup regular season.
Friday, September 24, 2010