A tough and close duel between two qualified teams was solved in favour of visiting BC FMP who defeated Strasbourg in France by 71-78. Minutes before the game, Strasbourg had learned that it had advanced to the elimination rounds thanks to Anwil's win over Besiktas ColaTurka. The win allows FMP to improve to 7-2 in the Group B standings while Strasbourg drops to 4-5, but it has the tiebreakers won with Anwil, the only team that could be able to tie in wins after the last game next week. Aleksandar Rasic led the winners with his 21 points, while Dragan Labovic and Slobodan Popovic fired in 10 apiece. For the hosts, Claude Marquis led the way with 18 points, John McCord added 12, Lonnie Cooper 11 and Chuck Eidson and Aerick Sanders 10 apiece.
FMP rolled into the game with a 0-5 run that was only broken by Claude Marquis, but soon Bojan Krstovic made it 2-7 for the hosts. Marquis kept scoring with free throws, and when John McCord joined in, Strasbourg managed to pull within 8-9. Branko Cvetkovic was the main weapon for FMP, with 7 points at that moment, until Dragan Labovic finally scored again for FMP making it 8-10. A 3-7 in rebounds showed FMP's aggressivity in the paint at the start, and Strasbourg wasn't helped by the fact that it had scored 1 of 5 attempts from the field, scoring 6 of its 8 points from the charity line. A layup by Afik Nissim and a free throw by Labovic put an end to the first quarter with a 13-16 score. The second quarter started with a 0-7 run of FMP capped by Djordje Micic's triple for 13-24, but the hosts replied with their own 9-0 burst for 22-24 and Lonnie Cooper added a triple to make it a one-point game again, 25-26. Finally, Chuck Eidson scored to put Strasbourg ahead by 27-26, but a last FMP burst only allowed Eidson again to tie at 33-33 with a free throw at the break.
Eidson and Marquis launched Strasbourg at the start of the second half for 39-33, but Aleksandar Rasic stopped the bleeding with a three. FMP made it a one-point game again, but the hosts managed to escape once more when Aerick Sanders scored. Rasic and Cooper traded more triples as the quarter advanced as the 10 offensive rebounds of Strasbourg started to show a positive trend for the hosts, who led by 48-43. But FMP was far from dead and a 5 of 8 from the arc maintained the guests totally in the game. Marquis was still the solid alternative for Strasbourg in offense, but free throws by Krstovic made it 50-49 in minute 29. Then again, Rasic's layup made it 53-51 for Strasbourg after 30 minutes. Slobodan Popovic finally tied it for FMP starting the decisive period, 53-53, and soon he posted a bomb from downtown plus free throw to send FMP to a 53-59 lead. Marquis again got Strasbourg started in the last quarter, but a technical foul on Milos Teodosic allowed the hosts to get even closer with a McCord layup, 58-61. The game was entering its last minutes when it looked like FMP had found its place on the driver's seat. Rasic and Micic combined for four points and a 64-69 score in minute 37, and then Nissim and Rasic traded baskets to maintain the margin. Marquis posted a new bucket, and when Nissim added two free throws, the guests only led by 1 again, 70-71. Labovic solved that situation for the gusts with a new three, and Labovic again and Rasic added four more free throws that sealed the deal as FMP escaped with a 71-78 win
Tuesday, January 9, 2007