Le Mans edges Alba in Berlin to keep chances alive
Le Mans Sarthe Basket kept alive its chance of advancing to the Last 32 with 80-86 road win over ALBA Berlin on Wednesday night in Mercedes-Benz Arena. This is second consecutive win for Le Mans which improved to 3-5 record, while ALBA dropped third straight game and is at 4-4 record in the fourth place of Group B. After the opening four minutes, the visitors never trailed the rest of the way, taking the lead for good midway through the second quarter. Mickael Gelabale and Tywain McKee scored key baskets in the third quarter that helped Le Mans pull away to a 13-point margin. ALBA cut the deficit all the way to 4 points in the final minutes, but never closer than that as McKee made clutch free throws and finished with 25 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Mouphtaou Yarou collected 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Gelabale netted 11 in victory. Elmedin Kikanovic scored 24 for ALBA, while Will Cherry had 18 points and 7 rebounds in the losing effort.
A triple from Pape-Philippe Amagou got Le Mans off to a good start, and with 4 points from Yarou and a three-pointer from McKee, the visitors held 8-13. Alex King tied the score with a triple, but McKee answered with a three-pointer to keep the visitors in front and help them to 16-20 after 10 minutes. Chris Lofton hit from long range for the visitors, but three consecutive baskets from Kikanovic made it 23-23. Le Mans regained the lead with McKee dishing it for Petr Cornelie and Lahaou Konate, and after a triple from ALBA’s Dragan Milosavljevic, Lofton nailed another three for the visitors, pushing the lead to 28-36 before Kikanovic made it 31-36 at the break.
Gelabale opened the third quarter with a three-pointer, but two more baskets from Kikanovic had ALBA within 37-39. However, Robert Dozier sparked a 2-11 spurt, that also had McKee, Gelabale and Yarou contribute and open 39-50 margin. Back-to-back triples from Gelabale and McKee had Le Mans with 43-56 advantage. Big men Kikanovic and Jonas Wohlfarth strung together 5 points, and after another triple from Gelabale late in the quarter, Cherry finished third quarter with a basket, and Kikanovic opened the fourth with a three-point, 54-61. But Dozier, Yarou and McKee, mostly from the foul line, restored a double-digit advantage, 60-72 midway through the fourth. ALBA responded with an 8-0 run in which Cherry made a three-point play, and King hit a three-pointer, but Amagou hit for two, and Konate for three to make it 70-77 with 90 seconds on the clock. Le Mans did give the hosts chances to get closer, as the visitors made only 5 of 10 free throws. Baskets from Cherry and Kikanovic helped get ALBA within 78-82, but McKee went 4-for-4 from the free throw line to seal the deal.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015