Aris TT Bank scored an impressive 74-84 road win over Efes Pilsen on Thursday night at Abdi Ipekci Sports Hall in Istanbul, Turkey. With the victory, Aris improved to 7-6 and can pass Efes for fourth place in Group B if it beats Maccabi Elite next week and Efes falls to Unicaja. Efes, which dropped its second home game of its last three, fell to 8-5 this season. Efes led for much of the first half, taking a 25-14 lead early in the second period, but Reyshawn Terry led a 0-7 charge before halftime to get the visitors within 34-31 at the break. Hanno Mottola tied the game with a three to start the second half and Savvas Iliadis soon introduced his hot hand to the game and Efes never recovered. The deficit was manageable for most of the third and fourth quarters, but unable to regain the lead, the hosts grew frustrated, began taking poor shots and eventually Darius Washington stepped up to seal a valuable road win for Aris. Mottola scored a season-high 22 to lead the visitors. It was his most points scored in a Euroleague game since netting 23 for Scavolini Pesaro in an overtime win over Real Madrid in March 2005. Jeremiah Massey added 19 points and 9 rebounds, while in just his second game with the club Washington scored 16. Iliadis finished with 11 points. Drew Nicholas paced Efes with 20 points, Kenny Gregory added 13, Loren Woods posted 10 points and 9 rebounds and Ermal Kuqo had 10 points.
Both teams went inside in the early going, with Kerem Gonlum and Woods creating points for Efes, while Mottola and Massey answered the same way to keep the score balanced. It wasn’t until Nicholas took the place of Rashad Wright a little before the end of the period that Efes pulled away. Nicholas scored 5 points – a three-pointer and then a fade-away jumper in the last seconds – to give a 17-10 lead to Efes after 10 minutes.
Aris was trying to cool down the game while Efes did the opposite to increase the lead to double digits immediately in the second period. Gregory made it 22-12 and then another triple from Nicholas increased it to 25-14. Washington broke the silence for Aris with a triple, then a jumper a minute later and a basket-plus-free throw to reduce the difference to 6 points. Efes increased the lead back again to 10 points when Scoonie Penn and Nicholas scored, but the visitors finished the half with 7 unanswered points in the last 160 seconds – 5 points from Terry and 2 Massey free throws to end the first half down only 34-31.
Mottola started to the second half with a triple to complete a 0-10 Aris run and tie the game at 34-34. Then Iliadis jumped to the front row with consecutive three-pointers. The guard gave Aris its first lead with his first bomb and later his third from downtown put the visitors ahead 46-50. Kuqo kept Efes in the game, but Massey’s clever penetration inside and jump shot over Woods ended the third quarter with Aris leading 51-54.
The barrage of Aris three-pointers continued into the fourth quarter as the visitors strengthened their lead and gained confidence. Mottola made a three-pointer followed by a Bracey Wright triple to give Aris a 55-60 lead. Massey and Wright increased the lead to 9 points as Efes lost the control of the game, started putting up panic shots and helped Aris grow the lead more and more. Washington’s layup at with a minute-and-a-half remaining made the score 69-82 and his next basket sealed the win at 70-84 to seal the outcome.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008