Belgian League champions Spirou Charleroi moved one step closer to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague despite losing the finale in their two-game series by 73-71 to host CEZ Nymburk on Friday in the Czech Republic. Spirou had won their opening game by 11 points, so therefore advanced on aggregate score to the second qualifying round to meet Unics Kazan, which won both games of its opening series. On Friday, Spirou contained several runs by Nymburk to try to eclipse the 11-point difference from their first game. On each occasion, Spirou's defense succeded keeping the hosts from threatening the series victory. That's was truest in the fourth quarter, when Nymburk led by 7 points, 64-57, with 6 minutes to play, but could score just 9 more against Spriou's defense the rest of the way. Tre Simmons, who had missed Game 1 of the series, led Nymburk with 17 points, while Mike Lenzly had 15, but 20 turnovers hurt the team's comeback try. Spirou got 16 points from Joseph Gomis, 14 from Chris Hill, 13 from Demond Mallet and 11 from Justin Hamilton. In the second qualifying round, Spirou and Unics will meet next Tuesday and Friday in Charleroi and Kazan, respectively, to keep alive their hopes of making the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season. Nymburk passes directly to the Eurocup regular season.
From the early going, Nymburk staked its comeback try on defense, going up 6-4 after almost 5 minutes, but with 11 points to make up from the first game, the scoring pace was not yet what the hosts needed. Neither could they stop the Spirou perimeter players, as Hill and Greene suddenly pushed their team up 8-13 on the scoreboard. Nymburk needed to react, and did so with a 9-4 run highighted by Afik Nissim's triple to tie 17-17 after 10 minutes. Mallet lifted Spirou once again with back-to-back three-pointers early in the second quarter, making it 19-23. Nymburk responded with another strong run of 11-3 ending with Pavel Pumprla's dunk for a 30-26 advantage. Andre Riddick and Hill kept Spirou close until Lenzly ended the half with a layup good for a 41-38 Nymburk advantage. Spirou, however, was still in the driver's seat, leading the series by 8 points.
Hill went further after halftime, tying on another triple to which Brindley Wright added free throws and Hamilton 5 points to suddenly put Spirou up 41-48 on the scoreboard. Again, Nymburk needed saving, and this time Simmons instigated another short run of 11-4 that tied the game at 52-52. Off-setting triples by Mallet and Lenzly and a layup by Pumprla ended the third quarter with Nymburk ahead 54-52, but needing plenty more in the final quarter. But Spirou did not let Nymburk break free at any time. Even after Radek Nekas sandwiched baskets around a Simmons three-pointer to put the hosts ahead 64-57, Spirou reeled the game back in and smothered Nymburk's comeback tries with defense.
Friday, September 24, 2010