For the second year in a row, Belgacom Spirou eliminated Alba Berlin in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds with a no-doubt-about-it 74-63 victory at home in Charleroi, Belgium on Saturday. Spirou will play the winner of Khimki Moscow Region vs. CEZ Nymburk later Saturday in the bracket final. Sunday's winner advances to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season. Against Alba, Spirou had all the answers with an aggressive defense and low turnovers. Dwayne Broyles led the way for Spirou with 15 points. Caleb Green nailed 11, Justin Hamilton and Demond Mallet added 10 apiece, and Jiri Welsch 9. Derrick Allen bagged 20 for Alba and Bryce Taylor 13. Spirou's defense set the tone as the hosts took a 36-23 lead after 15 minutes. Alba fought back before halftime, but an 18-8 run for Spirou bridging the last two quarters supplied a big enough advantage, 59-46, to last the distance. Alba will now join the 2011-12 Eurocup Regular Season, which begins in November.
Allen popped a jumper from outside to open the scoring for Alba. Mallet answered from beyond the arc, but a three-point-play completed but Torin Francis gave an early 3-5 margin to Alba. Tornike Shengeila tied it up before a perfect connection between Dashaun Wood and Allen put Alba back ahead, but not for long. Back-to-back baskets from Andre Riddick and Mallet gave Spirou its first advantage at 9-7. Five points in a row scored by Green, a long three-pointer and a fade-away jumper, pushed Spirou to a 19-11 margin. Soon, a Broyles triple over Alba's zone defense gave a 22-13 advantage to the hosts. Mallet gave Spirou the first double-digit lead from the foul line before Allen lowered it to 24-16 after 10 minutes.
A big dunk from Shengelia made it 26-16 early in the second quarter, while Alba offense continued to struggle against the tough Spirou defense. Marko Simonovic lifted the visitors with 5 consecutive points, but Broyles scored another long-distance shot to re-establish a double-figure difference, 31-21. A minute later, he completed a three-point-play for the biggest margin so far, 36-23. Wood's three-pointer, and perfect pick-and-roll assist to Allen quickly cut the margin to 36-28. An easy layup by Taylor completed Alba's comeback to within 36-32 as the first half finished.
Chris Hill's three-pointer and an easy layup for Torin were the first points in the third quarter. Riddick and Kyle Weaver exchanged two-pointers, but the defenses were tough on both sides, so open shots were hard to fin. A steal by Alba transformed into 2 easy points for Allen that pushed the guests closer, at 41-38. Green reacted with a long-range strike as Spirou regained a 45-38 advantage. A pair of easy fastbreak layups by Justin Hamilton, one with additional free throw, suddenly had Spirou up 10 points again, 48-38. Before the quarter could finish, however, back-to back threes by Heiko Schaffartzik had Alba as close again as 53-46.
A 6-0 run capped by Jiri Welsch opened another big margin, 59-46, for Spirou to start the final quarter. Wood scored from downtown and assisted Allen to sound the charge for Alba at 61-52, but Spirou wasn't giving in. A rocket from downtown by Broyles made it 64-53 midway through the quarter. Soon, a reverse layup by Green maintained a nine-point margin, 66-57, with less than 2 minutes remaining, Schaffartzik and Taylor with long three-pointers got Alba as close as 69-63 with a minute left, but Spirou took its time to seal the win from the foul line and get within a step of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season.
Saturday, October 1, 2011