In the opening game of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague qualifying rounds, EWE Baskets Oldenburg edged Cimberio Varese 74-79 on Tuesday in Vilnius, Lithuania. Oldenburg advanced to the second stage to play either host Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius or VEF Riga, while Varese is eliminated, but will play in 2013-14 Eurocup. Julius Jenkins netted 18 points off the bench in victory, while Chris Kramer made key and timely plays in Oldenburg’s win, scoring 8 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. Kramer also added 5 rebounds and 5 assists to his tally, while Rickey Paulding had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in victory. Achille Polonara led Varese with 18 points, Keydren Clark had 15, and Ebi Ere 14 in defeat.
Frank Hassell scored the first points of the tournament with a putback, and Oldenburg needed almost 3 minutes to score. But once Paulding opened Oldenburg's account with a jumper, in the next 3 minutes the German side scored 11 points. Kramer added basket-plus-foul, Andrea Crosariol made a layup, and Paulding capped the run with a driving layup for 6-11. Varese quickly replied through Polonara who first made a layup, then nailed back-to-back triples for 14-13. However, Oldenburg answered with a 0-10 spurt, started with Nemanja Aleksadrov's layup-plus-foul, and capped with a triple from Jenkins for a 9-point advantage. Clark hit a three-pointer to end the first quarter 17-23, before Varese rallied using fast breaks and offensive rebounds in the second quarter. While Oldenburg's only offensive production came from Jenkins for 23-29, Varese used put-backs from Erik Rush and Polonara, as well as fastbreak layups from Ere and Aubrey Coleman. Another fastbreak layup from Rush made it 31-29, before a jumper from Clark extended the lead to 6 points, capping a 12-0 run. Before half's end, Robin Smeulders scored from close range, cutting it to 35-31 at halftime.
Kramer opened the third quarter with a steal and an easy layup, before Crosariol tied it 36-36 with a basket-plus-foul. Teams picked it up offensively after the break, as Hassell, Coleman and Polonara briefly kept Varese ahead, but Smeulders inside and Kramer with a coast-to-coast layup made it 44-45. Clark answered with a triple, but lead continued to change hands, and Joyce’s floater-plus-foul made it 51-52 at the end of the third quarter. In the first 3 minutes of the fourth, Jenkins scored 7 points, including a triple for 53-60, but Varese promptly replied as Clark and Ere scored from downtown for 63-62 midway through the final quarter. Streaks continued in the final minutes, too, as Kramer scored 6 points in a 0-8 run for 63-70, but Varese replied, stringing together 7 points, tying it at 70-70 with a triple from Ere with less than 2 minutes to go. However, Varese never regained the led again, and Kramer turned out to make a key play. After a give-and-go with Crosariol with 68 seconds to go, Kramer drove for a two-handed dunk just before the 24-second buzzer expired. Joyce and Paulding made 3 of 4 free throws in the last 20 seconds to keep Oldenburg in front, before Clark missed potentially tying three-pointer in the final seconds.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013