ALBA Berlin bats Limoges to punch Top 16 ticket
ALBA Berlin qualified for the Top 16 with a hard-fought 65-71 road win at Limoges CSP on Friday night. The victory and a season sweep of the French champ improved ALBA’s record to 4-5 record in Group B, which is two victories more than both Limoges and Cedevita Zagreb with only one game remaining. The Berliners led for majority of the game, using a 24-9 rebounding advantage in the first half to build a double-digit margin before going into halftime with a 27-35 lead. Limoges had a great opening to the third quarter, but the visitors took the lead for good behind Jamel McLean who fueled a 0-9 run in the third quarter. Vojdan Stojanovski hit two key three-pointers in the fourth to hold off the hosts’ attempt to come back. McLean finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists to carry ALBA into the Top 16. Stojanovski netted 13 points, and Alex Renfroe chipped in with 8 points and 6 assists in victory. Jamar Smith had 15 points for the hosts, Adrien Moerman scored 10 with 6 rebounds, while Nobel Boungou-Colo finished with 9 in a defeat that eliminated Limoges from the Top 16 contention.
First quarter: Offenses struggle as ALBA takes slim lead
Leon Radosevic drove for a layup on the opening possession, and J.P. Batista answered with a short jumper, but both teams struggled offensively early on. Cliff Hammonds buried a three-pointer for the visitors, and Batista scored inside for Limoges, which scored only 2 of its first 11 attempts, while ALBA committed 6 turnovers in the opening five minutes. Nobel Boungou-Colo hit a jumper with three minutes to go in the quarter to tie the game at 6-6, before Alex King and Steed Tchicamboud traded triples. Jamel McClean fought his way for a basket from close range, and followed it with a pair of free throws, but Jamar Smith banked in a tough short jumper to get within 11-13 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Hammonds and McLean carry ALBA to a halftime lead
Trent Plaisted opened the quarter with a monster dunk, but Radosevic answered driving for a layup and Hammonds hit a baseline jumper. Another layup from McLean made it 13-19. Moerman hit a jumper, and after Marko Banic scored an easy layup for ALBA, a triple from Moerman cut it to 18-21. Hammonds kept carrying the visitors with a floater in the lane. After a driving layup from Alex Renfroe, it was again Hammonds who threw an alley-oop pass for a dunk from Niels Giffey. A corner jumper from Vojdan Stojanovski and a put-back from Johnas Wohlfarth extended the difference to 18-31. Smith snapped a 0-10 run with a mid-range jump shot, and after a timeout, Boungou-Colo’s three-pointer made it 23-31. Radosevic scored a pair from the foul line to restore a double-digit lead, before Batiste scored inside and Tchicamboud made foul shots for Limoges. But ALBA went into halftime up 27-35 after McLean banked in a tough off balance shot.
Third quarter: Limoges rallies, but McLean puts the visitors back in front
A fastbreak layup from Boungou-Colo opened the scoring in the second half. While ALBA was held scoreless for almost five minutes, Smith and Ramel Curry hit triples for the hosts, tying the game, before Moerman raced for a fast break dunk and a 37-35 lead. Stojanovski snapped a 10-0 run with a jumper half way through the quarter, but a corner triple from Curry put Limoges right back in front. McLean hustled for a put-back dunk, and after a timeout Stojanovski came up with a steal that led to a fastbreak layup, before McLean fed Renfroe for an easy layup. McLean then made a steal and a layup-plus-foul himself for a 40-46 ALBA lead. After a timeout, Plaisted and Batista scored inside for the hosts, while Renfore and Banic made layups for ALBA, 44-50. A basket-plus-foul from Camara cut the deficit some more, but Renfroe beat the buzzer at the end of the quarter with a tip in for a 47-52 cushion.
Fourth quarter: Stojanovski triples help ALBA close it out
Radosevic scored a driving layup to open the quarter, and Wohlfarth added a layup of his own to make it 47-56. Smith nailed a turnaround jumper for Limoges, and after McLean drove for a two-handed dunk, Smith hit back-to-back shots from downtown for to get within 55-59. But Stojanovski eased the pressure with back-to-back triples, and a steal in between, for 1 10-point cushion. Moerman’s put-back-plus foul gave the hosts’ hope, but Banic hit a baseline jumper and McLean followed it with a high-arching shot, giving ALBA a 58-69 lead with just over two minutes to go. Frejus Zerbo scored a put-back-plus free throw for the hosts, and Boungou-Colo made a second-chance floater for a 63-70 advantage in the final minute. However, ALBA was patient running off the clock, and after Curry made a couple of free throws, Stojanovski sealed the deal from the foul line.
Friday, December 12, 2014