Le Mans Sarthe Basket reached the Turkish Airlines Euroleague second Qualifying Round by downing Banvit BK 78-66 in Game 2 of the two-way series in France on Friday. Le Mans swept the series and stayed alive in the race to reach the Euroleague regular season. On the other hand, Banvit will make its Eurocup debut in the upcoming season. Antoine Diot paced the winners with 18 points. Alain Koffi added 14 while Ben Dewar had 12 for Le Mans. Mutlu Akipinar led Banvit with 18 points. Vladimir Golubovic added 16 while Chuck Davis got 14 for the guests. The game was very close in the first half and free throws by Ibrahim Yildirim gave Banvit its last lead, 32-33, late in the second quarter. Dewar and Marc-Antoine Pellin allowed Le Mans to get a 38-33 halftime edge. Le Mans improved its defense after the break and a dunk by Charles Kahudi boosted the hosts' lead to 50-40. Akpinar and Davis brought Banvit within 60-56 but an outstanding Diot shined in crunch time to keep Le Mans out of trouble until the final buzzer.
Koffi got Le Mans going with a jumper but back-to-back layups by Baris Ermis soon gave Banvit a 2-4 lead. JP Batista and Akpinar traded baskets and a three-pointer by Dewar put the hosts back ahead, 7-6. Banvit kept trying to control the game tempo and Davis followed a layup with a jumper for a 9-10 lead. Both teams went scoreless for more than 2 minutes but Banvit entered the foul bonus midway through this period. Free throws by Alex Acker and Diot allowed Le Mans to regain the lead, 13-10. Golubovic followed a three-point play with a layup but Diot struck from downtown and Pellin added free throws for a 18-17 Le Mans lead after 10 minutes. Diot collected a steal and raced downcourt for a three-point play early in the second quarter. He soon added a jumper to give the hosts a 23-19 edge. Akpinar split free throws and added a triple to tie it at 23-23. Dewar and Batista stepped up with consecutive baskets but a layup-plus-foul by an unstoppable Golubovic kept Banvit as close as 27-26. Davis kept pacing Banvit and free throws by Yildirim restored a 32-33 Banvit edge. Thierry Rupert and Dewar, however, led a 6-0 run that Pellin capped with a layup for a 38-33 halftime score.
Yigitcan Turna followed a jumper with a three-pointer right after the break for a 40-38 Banvit deficit. Le Mans improved its defense early in the third quarter and made Banvit go scoreless for more than 2 minutes. Meanwhile, a dunk by Kahudi and free throws by Koffi gave the hosts a safe 44-38 lead. Dewar capped a 6-0 run that put Le Mans ahead for good, 46-38. Golubovic tried to change things with a layup but free throws by Batista and another dunk by Kahudi made it a double-digit game, 50-40. Golubovic kept pacing Banvit but he didn't find much help around. Meanwhile, Acker and Ryvon Covile allowed Le Mans to keep a 58-49 edge after 30 minutes. It was do-or-die time for Banvit and Akpinar tried to ignite his team's comeback with a power basket. Free throws by Davis and another basket by Akpinar got the guests even closer, 60-56, forcing Le Mans to call timeout. Diot took over with a triple and Koffi soon put Le Mans out of trouble, 65-56. The outcome of the series was clear but both teams kept fighting for a prestigious win. Diot struck again from downtown to send all Le Mans to their feet, 74-61, as even when Banvit kept fighting, it was already too little, too late of the guests.
Friday, September 24, 2010