Le Mans provided a big show in its first-ever Euroleague game and beat visiting Climamio Bologna 82-71 in France to open Group A with a win on Thursday night. Le Mans used outstanding athleticism, intensity and concentration to get a 1-0 record in Group A, as it will travel to Sopot to face Prokom Trefl next Thursday. Meanwhile, Climamio dropped to 0-1 and hosts Olympiacos on Wednesday. Kenny Gregory and Eric Campbell provided a dunking exhibition in the second half and led Le Mans to a well-deserved win in spectacular fashion. Gregory led the winners with 20 points on 9-for-12 shooting and 8 rebounds while Campbell added 19 on 8-for-11 shooting and 7 rebounds. Sandro Nicevic and Nebojsa Bogavac each had 10 points for Le Mans. Nicevic added 8 rebounds and 5 assists in a great all-around game. David Bluthenthal and Marco Belinelli each had 17 points for Climamio, Preston Shumpert had 16 and Tyus Edney 10 for the guests. It was balanced game for 33 minutes, but Campbell dunked it three times in a game-breaking 16-3 run which allowed Le Mans to have a pleasant Euroleague debut.
Mate Skelin opened the scoring with a basket in the low post which Hamann immediately erased with a driving layup. Le Mans kept attacking the basket, as Gregory scored in penetration while Wheeler hit free throws for a 6-2 lead. Belinelli showed its talent with a back-to-back jumpers coming off screens to tie the game at 6-6. Shumpert stepped up with a layup to give Climamio its first lead, 6-8, but Skelin worked well in the paint to score again. Belinelli kept pacing Climamio with a three-pointer and soon scored again to keep Climamio ahead, 10-13. Hamann shined with a left-handed put-back layup, forcing Climamio to call timeout at 10-15. Tyus Edney stepped on court, while Shumpert made free throws for a 10-17 Climamio edge. Gregory scored around the basket and soon added a driving layup, but Belinelli kept shining with free throws and a driving basket. Yannick Bokolo hit a free throws Nicevic shined with consecutive layups to bring Le Mans within 19-21 after 10 minutes.
Bokolo tied the game with a four-meter jumper which Edney matched with a baseline shot for a 21-23 Climamio lead early in the second quarter. Le Mans followed its game plan, with aggressive defense and looking to slash to the rim. As such, Campbell hit free throws while Pape-Philippe Amagou took over with an acrobatic driving layup, good for a 25-23 Le Mans edge. David Bluthenthal hit a jumper off the dribble while Edney swished a six-meter shot for another lead change, 25-27. Nicevic stepped up with his trademark jumper but Edney matched it with free throws midway through this period. Campbell followed an easy layup with a put-back basket, but Bluthental answered from downtown to give the guests a 31-32 edge. Gregory shined with a power basket and the free throw which came with it while Campbell added a one-handed put-back layup. Bogavac had 4 points in a 11-0 run which he capped with a layup for a 42-32 Le Mans lead. A corner triple by Bluthenthal brought Climamio within 42-35 at halftime.
Hamann fed Shumpert for a mid-range jumper but Gregory took over with consecutive driving layups which kept Le Mans ahead, 46-38. Belinelli shined with a left-handed driving basket but a red hot Campbell matched it with a four-meter jumper. Climamio tried a 2-3 zone defense with James Thomas in the middle to avoid more baskets in penetration. Le Mans opted to use its athleticism to power the offensive board, but its shooters were off-target. Meanwhile, Shumpert nailed a triple from the top of the ley and Bluthenthal added a fast break layup to bring the guests within 48-46 at the halfway mark of the third quarter. Wheeler answered from downtown but Bluthenthal matched it with his second three-pointer. Gregory decided to provide a big show with a monster dunk-and-foul and a reverse fast break slam, igniting a 8-0 run which Amagou capped with a forner three-pointer for a 58-49 Le Mans lead. Thomas and Bluthenthal nailed consecutive jumpers, but a jump hook by Gregory kept Le Mans going. Shumpert beat the buzzer with a corner triple which brought Climamio within 61-56 after three quarters.
Stefano Mancinelli fueled the Climamio comeback with free throws while Shumpert scored off a midcourt steal, forcing Le Mans to call timeout at 61-60. Nicevic stepped up with another short jumper while Bokolo shined with a driving layup off a Climamio turnover to give the hosts a 65-60. Bluthenthal rescued Climamio with a jumper and Shumpert copied him soon after that to make it a one-point game, 65-64. Nicevic kept pacing Le Mans with another close basket while Bogavac nailed one from downtown to give the hosts some fresh air, 70-64, midway through the final period. Campbell send the crowd to their feet with a dunk, but Edney silenced everyone with an off-balanced jumper. Bogavac took over with a three-point play and Campbell added a put-back dunk to give Le Mans a 77-67 lead with under 3 minutes remaining. Climamio called timeout, but Campbell dunked it again to seal the outcome, showing that few teams will be able to beat Le Mans at home this season.
Thursday, October 26, 2006