Alba Berlin dominated inside to beat Bulgarian champ Lukoil Academic Sofia 78-61 at the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday to improve to 1-1 in ULEB Cup Group C. Chris Owens and Sharrod Ford each recorded double-doubles as Alba outrebounded Lukoil 49-27. Alba led from start to finish to improve to 1-1. Meanwhile, Lukoil dropped to 1-1 after suffering its first loss. Ford finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, Owens had 17 points and 11 boards, while Julius Jenkins added 17 as well. William Avery added 8 points and 5 assists. Lamont Jones paced Lukoil with 14 points and Riste Stefanov added 10. Alba led by 11 late in the first half before Lukoil trimmed the gap to 38-30 at halftime. The hosts' advantage went up to 12 after three periods and peaked at 78-58 late in the fourth quarter as the home fans celebrated the win.
Owens opened the scoring for Berlin with a mid-range jumper before Stefanov got Sofia on the board with a three-pointer. Ford threw down a pair of dunks that gave Alba an 8-5 lead, which was quickly erased by Lamont Jones's triple. Owens and Jenkins put Alba ahead 12-8 and after Lamont Barnes's shot was rejected by Ford, and Owens finished the fast break to give Berlin a 6-point advantage, causing Lukoil to take its second timeout. Owens netted another jumper, but Thomas Mobley's three and a three-point play from Barnes brought Lukoil back to 16-14 after 10 minutes. Todor Stoykov scored his first points with a triple, but the Alba reserves were also in good form now. Ruben Boumtje Boumtje and Nenad Canak scored 6 inside points for to make it 24-17, answered only by a lucky shot from Taliek Brown. When Boyko Mladenov scored 4 straight points and Jones nailed a jumper, Lukoil was back within 28-27. But, Jenkins stole the ball for 2 fastbreak points and Ford added 4 inside points to increase the lead to 38-27 before the visitors had the last word with three points from free throws to make it 38-30 at the half.
Lukoil came out of the lockers with two huge three-pointers by Gjorgji Cekovski and Stefanov, but then lost their accuracy. Owens hit a jumper, William Avery dished to Ford for an alley-oop and Koko Archibong added two free throws to reestablish a 46-36 lead. Jones, Ford, Barnes, Jenkins and Brown exchanged baskets as the lead floated around 10 points, Jones hit a big shot for two and Todor Stoykov a triple to make it 53-48. Avery drilled a three to increase the lead to 56-48 at the end of 30 minutes of action. Owens opened the last quarter with a jumper to put Alba's lead back at 10 as the hosts' inside presence continued to make the difference. After Taliek Brown completed a three-point play, Owens, Boumtje Boumtje, Jenkins and Demond Greene extended Alba's lead to 65-51 with Lukoil looking more and more desperate inside. All that was left for the visitors was to try their luck from outside. Stoykov hit a triple for 69-58, but Lukoil couldn't stop Avery's penetration nor Jenkins's shots as the lead grew to 75-58. Archibong and Jenkins capped a 9-0 run from the line as the lead peaked at 78-58 lead before Jones's triple sealed the score at 78-61.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006