BK Ventspils reaffirmed its strength at home once again and held onto second place in Group B by putting away the Koln 99ers of Germany by 88-73 on Tuesday in Latvia. Ventspils led from tipoff to final buzzer and raised its record to 2-1, placing it right behind undefated Besiktas Cola Turka in the group standings. Koln, meanwhile, fell to 1-2 and the middle of the pack. Jimmy Baxter led the winners with 24 points, while Justin Love added 17, Raimonds Gabrans 16, Aigars Vitols 11 and Akin Akingbala 10. For Koln, Toby Bailey had 21 points on 5-for-7 three-point shooting, 16 of which bridged the first two quarters and got the visitors within 31-29, the closest they came to the lead all night. Milko Bjelica added 15 for Koln, Misan Nikagbatse 14 and Aleksandar Nadjfeji 13. Bailey's teammates made only 1 of 10 triples while Ventspils, was
Ventspils took complete control of the scoreboard from the opening tipoff as Baxter and Akingbala scored all the points in a 14-2 blast-off before Koln recovered, with Beljica and Bailey combining for 9 quick points. However, it was still 23-17 after the first quarter, by which time Baxter and Akingbala had 18 points between them. Bailey was just getting warmed up, and blasted off himself for 3 triples among 11 straight points to start the second quarter pulling Koln within 31-29. Love and Akingbala got help from Aigars Vitols in keeping Ventspils ahead 46-39 at the half. Soon after the break, Ventspils flirted with a double-digit lead again at 56-47 on a triple by Raimonds Gabrans, and eventually took it at 62-51 on another by Vitols. The hosts entered the final quarter up 66-55 and, despite a quick three-pointer by Misan Nikagbatse, made enough free throws to keep Koln no closer than 9 points until another Aitols triple made it 82-68 entering the next-to-last minute, ending all doubt about the outcome.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007