ASVEL protects home court with come-from-behind win
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to edge visiting MoraBanc Andorra 79-75 and take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three quarterfinals series on Tuesday night at the Astroballe. The two teams meet again in 72 hours in Andorra for Game 2. MoraBanc led 34-44 at the start of the second quarter, but Charles Kahudi fueled a 13-0 run before ASVEL took control in the fourth quarter and pulled out the victory. Kahudi scored 18 of his career-high tying 21 points in the third quarter to lead in victory, while A.J. Slaughter scored 11 of his 15 points in the second quarter for ASVEL. Moussa Diagne had 16 points on 6-for-6 two-point shooting and 8 rebounds to lead the visitors, while Michele Vitali netted 12 in the losing effort.
The visitors took the lead right away with a three-point play by Dylan Ennis and a triple from Andrew Albicy to make it 4-10. David Lighty hit a three-pointer for ASVEL and he had a layup to spark a 6-0 run that gave the hosts their first lead, 17-16. A big dunk from Jerome Jordan put MoraBanc up 17-20 at the end of the first quarter, but Slaughter strung together 8 points for the hosts early in the second, including a three-point play to make it 25-22. However, MoraBanc held the hosts without a basket for 4 and a half minutes, mixing man defense with 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone defenses. Diagne scored 5 points to open a 25-31 lead. After Slaughter hit a three-pointer to end ASVEL’s drought, Diagne and John Shurna made it 30-37. A triple from Vitali gave the visitors a 34-42 halftime lead. Ennis and Diagne hooked up for an alley-oop dunk to open a 10-point lead, but ASVEL answered with a 13-0 run that included a triple from Amine Noua and two from Kahudi to give the hosts a 47-44 advantage. Kahudi hit another triple, but Diagne had a three-point play and Vitali a three-pointer to restore MoraBanc’s lead, 53-54. Kahudi scored 5 more points, including a triple, and Noua nailed a corner three to make it 64-60 after 30 minutes. The hosts kept the lead through close-range baskets from Slaughter and Miro Bilan and after Ennis and Shurna answered, the only basket of the night from Mantas Kalnietis made it 75-68 with 4:10 to go. MoraBanc did not go away, with Ennis hitting a triple with 1:55 left to cut it within 77-75, but ASVEL did not allow another basket and prevailed to win the series opener.
ASVEL struggled in the first quarter and found itself in a 10-point deficit at the start of the second, but Amine Noua and Charles Kahudi fueled a 13-0 run to get the hosts, and the home crowd, going.
ASVEL team captain Kahudi was scoreless in the first half, but scored 18 points as ASVEL turned a 34-44 deficit into a 59-57 lead.
Movers and shakers
David Lighty did a bit of everything with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, while Miro Bilan and Amine Noua scored 10 apiece. Mantas Kalnietis scored just 2 points, but had 7 rebounds and 5 assists. On the losing side, John Shurna and Andrew Albicy had 11 points apiece and Dylan Ennis collected 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
ASVEL allowed just 3 offensive rebounds, including none in the third quarter. The hosts pulled down 11 offensive boards, which proved a huge difference in a tight contest.
Game 2 is scheduled for Friday in Andorra where MoraBanc is a perfect 8-0 this season and averages 93.1 points per game.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019