Maroussi BC made it to the Euroleague regular season! Maroussi earned the right to play in the 2009-10 Euroleague - its first season in Europe's signature club competition - by winning the two-way second qualifying round series against Alba Berlin. Maroussi reached the regular season despite a 75-70 road loss against Alba in Berlin in Game 2 on Sunday, as its nine-point lead in Game 1 was enough for the team to be the aggregate score winner in this series. Billy Keys led Maroussi with 17 points but Marios Batis became the game hero. Batis finished the game with 15 points, sinking two critical triples in a 2-12 run late in the third quarter and another one in the final seconds to put the series on ice. Dimitris Mavroeidis had 13 points for Maroussi. Julius Jenkins led Alba with 32 points. Immanuel McElroy added 13 while Adam Chubb had 10 for the hosts, that led 53-43 midway through the third quarter. Maroussi rallied and tied the game at 62-62 but Jenkins allowed Alba to enter the final seconds with options to win the series, 75-67. Batis sank a big triple that sent Maroussi to the Euroleague.
Jared Homan got Maroussi going with a put-back layup, as the guests tried to power the offensive board in the early going. Levon Kendall soon gave Maroussi a 0-4 edge, as Alba tried to run its offense through Kenan Bajramovic without much success. Three-pointers by Kendall and Jamon Gordon capped a 0-10 opening run that gave Maroussi a 19-point lead in the series. Jenkins tried to change things with a layup-plus-foul. Blagota Sekulic and McElroy allowed Alba to get back in the game, 8-10. Keys and Chubb traded layups but Mavroeidis scored twice around the basket to keep Maroussi ahead, 12-16. Chubb kept pacing Alba with a put-back layup but Keys answered from downtown for a 14-19 score. Jenkins joined the three-point shootout and then matched Mavroeidis' layup with an easy basket to keep Alba within 19-21 after 10 minutes.
Chubb hit a jumper right at the start of the second quarter while Jenkins buried another three-pointer to send the crowd to their feet, 24-21. Chubb capped a 7-0 Alba run with a layup, as Kostas Kaimakoglou immediately answered from downtown to give Maroussi some fresh air at 26-24. Chubb kept pacing Alba with another jumper, as Maroussi struggled to find open shots now. Batis stepped up with a layup but Rashad Wright sank a triple that made it a five-point game, 31-26. The guests kept struggling to score while Sekulic gave Alba its biggest lead that far, 33-27. Keys silenced the crowd with a three-pointer while Kaimakoglou scored off a steal to keep Maroussi out of trouble, 33-32. Sekulic and Jenkins took over late in this period to give Alba a 40-35 lead. Keys downed another triple but Jenkins answered from downtown to fix the halftime score at 43-38.
Keys buried another three-pointer immediately after the break but Sekulic quickly answered with a layup for a 45-41 Alba lead. Jenkins nailed his fourth and fifth triple to give Alba a double-digit margin - and the lead in the series at 51-41. Keys kept pacing Maroussi with free throws but an unstoppable Jenkins sank another jumper for a 53-43 score. Maroussi improved its defense right when it mattered, overcoming a huge basketball atmosphere. Homan and Gordon shined with consecutive baskets and even when Jenkins made free throws, a three-pointer by Batis brought Maroussi within 55-50. Alba could not find the way to the basket just when it needed it most. Meanwhile, Homan scored again while another three-pointer by Batis tied it at 55-55, after a 2-12 run. A free throw by Wright allowed Alba to regain the lead, 56-55, after 30 minutes.
McElroy stepped up with a layup early in the fourth quarter but Maroussi had regained the game momentum and started to use long possession. Batis sank a triple - his third in as many minutes - to tie the game at 58-58. Alba needed to speed up the game tempo and Bajramovic sank a jumper but Kaimakoglou scored around the basket for a 60-60 tie. McElroy scored again but he didn't find any help around. Free throws by Mavroeidis almost sealed the outcome of the series, 62-62, midway through the fourth quarter. Jenkins scored again, however, while free throws by Wright gave Alba some hope at 66-62. Mavroeidis followed a layup with free throws but a three-pointer by Dragan Dojcin and free throws by McElroy brought Alba back in the series, 73-66. Batis sank a free throw but a layup by Jenkins gave the hosts a 75-67 margin with seconds to go. It all came down to the final seconds but Batis became the game-hero with a big three-pointer that allowed Maroussi to seal its regular season ticket!
Sunday, October 11, 2009