Turkish Airlines Euroleague
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Qualifying Rounds 2012
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Olympic Qualifying Tournament: Quarterfinals – July 6, 2012
Russia, Lithuania, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic are all just one win from going to London following victories Friday in the quarterfinals day at Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela. Russia faces Nigeria in one semifinal on Saturday, while Lithuania will meet the Dominican Republic. The winners will head to London for the 2012 Olympic Games at the end of the month, while the losing teams will get one last shot to advance in a do-or-die game Sunday. Russia knocked out Angola behind a strong effort from BC Khimki guard Vitaly Fridzon and CSKA Moscow center Sasha Kaun, who combined for 35 points. Nigeria eliminated Greece in a game that came down to the final shot. Ike Diogu led the way with a double-double. In Friday's evening session, the Dominican Republic came back from a 20-point deficit to beat the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. To finish off the quarterfinals, Euroleague legend Sarunas Jasikevicius scored 4 of his 11 points in the final 36 seconds as Lithuania outlasted Puerto Rico 76-72.
Russia 80-65 Angola
Team Russia knocked out Angola with an 80-65 victory in the first game of the day to move within one win of qualification to London. Through the first quarter the game was as close as can be with the score tied at 19-19 following a Joaquim Gomes basket with less than two minutes to go. BC Khimki guard Vitaly Fridzon put Russia ahead 25-21 at the end of the quarter. Leonel Paulo closed the gap to 2 early in the second, but the Russians upped the intensity on defense and only allowed one basket the rest of the half en route to a 43-26 lead at the break. Russia went up 20 on an Andrei Kirilenko bucket midway through the third quarter and the lead peaked at 24 in the fourth quarter as head coach David Blatt’s team cruised to victory. Fridzon paced the winners with 18 points, CSKA center Sasha Kaun added 17 and Euroleague MVP Kirilenko tallied 14 points and 5 assists. Eduardo Mingas led Angola with 20 points.
Greece 79-80 Nigeria
Nigeria stunned Greece 79-80 behind Ike Diogu and Al-Farouq Aminu to march into the next stage and send the favored Greeks home. The thrilling game went down to the wire and Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four MVP Vassilis Spanoulis had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Derick Obasohan blocked his shot on a controversial play, no foul was called and Nigeria celebrated. Back-to-back triples by Spanoulis and Panathinaikos signing Michael Bramos made it 29-21 in Greece’s favor early in the second quarter and Ioannis Bourousis of EA7 Emporio Armani teamed with Spanoulis to extend the lead to 42-30 by halftime. Nigeria roared back to within 3 twice in the third quarter, tied the score at 61-61 four minutes into the fourth quarter and took its first lead of the second half at 71-73 on a Tony Skinn score with 2:01 to play. The lead changed hands several more times with Kostas Papanikolaou nailing a clutch triple with 14 seconds to go for 79-78. However Ade Dagunduro put Nigeria back ahead on three throws with 3 seconds to play and those points proved to be the difference after Spanoulis missed at the buzzer. Diogu amassed 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead Nigeria, Dagunduro added 14 points in 15 minutes and Aminu scored 13. Spanoulis led Greece with 25 points and 5 assists and Bourousis netted 18.
FYROM 76-86 Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic dominated the glass en route to an impressive 76-86 come-from-behind over the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Dominicans advanced to the semifinals with the win. Al Horford and Jack Martinez each recorded double doubles for the winners, who outrebounded FYROM 29-48 – including 6-20 on the offensive end. FYROM took charge early with a 10-2 start and a 23-10 lead through 10 minutes. The lead reached 20 midway through the second quarter and sat at 41-28 at the half. The Dominicans scored the first 7 points of the third quarter and climbed within 56-54 at the end of the third quarter. Baskets on the offensive glass on consecutive possessions by Martinez and Horford tied the game and then put FYROM ahead for the first time, 56-58. Vlado Ilievski tied it at 62-62, but the Dominicans had a full head of steam and kept rolling. After Vojdan Stojanovski narrowed the gap to 70-74 with three minutes to go, Fernando Garcia scored the next 4 points for the Dominican Republic and they made their free throws down the stretch to ice the win. Garcia finished with 28 points, Horford tallied 14 points and 15 rebounds and Martinez compiled 14 and 13. All-Euroleague point guard Bo McCalebb led FYROM with 35 points and Ilievski netted 16 in defeat.
Lithuania 76-72 Puerto Rico
Lithuania has the chance to return to the Olympic Games after outlasting Puerto Rico 76-72 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the qualifying tournament to reach London later this month. Down 71-72 with 36 seconds left to play, Lithuania got 4 points the rest of the way from Euroleague legend Sarunas Jasikevicius to put itself a win away from its sixth consecutive Olympics appearance. The Lithuanians get their first chance to do that against Dominican Republic in Saturday's semifinals. The winner goes directly to the Olympics, but the loser will play a third-place game on Sunday for the same privilege. Mantas Kalnieties of Zalgiris Kaunas scored 14 points, the same as Linas Kleiza, to lead Lithuania. Puerto Rico took a 14-22 thanks to Jose Barea scoring 7 points in the first quarter's last 3 minutes. Martynas Pocius and Jonas Maciulis kept Lithuania close until the Jasikevicius finished the first half putting Lithuania ahead on a three-pointer. Despit a 48-41 edge soon after halftime, Lithuania could not escape from Puerto Rico, which tied the score 57-57 early in the fourth quarter. Kalnietis hit a three-pointer to save the lead, but Puerto Rico kept pushing until Daniel Santiago's go-ahead free throw at 71-72 with 36 seconds left. Jasikevicius immediately answered with a pick-and-roll basket before adding 2 perfect free throws with 3 seconds left to seal the victory. Jasikevicius added 11 points, Jonas Maciulis 10 and 10 rebounds, for the winners. Alex Galindo had 17 points to lead Puerto Rico.
Friday, July 06, 2012
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