Panionios On Telecoms took a crucial step in its quest to reach the ULEB Cup elimination rounds from Group G when it edged host Asvel Basket 87-89 on Tuesday in Villeurbanne, France. Both teams are now tied in second place with 5-3 records, a victory behind Group G leader Gran Canaria and one more than fourth-place Asco Slask Wroclaw. Panionios can chalk up its victory to decisive accuracy at the foul line, where the visitors canned 28 of 32 free throws. Asvel made only 22 of 31 on its home baskets. Ivan Zoroski and Ioannis Georgalis scored 3 of their final 4 foul shots to seal the win for Panionios, while Robert Conley missed the potential shot from long distance to give the win to Asvel. Ioannis Kalampokis was the main contributor for Panionios with 20 points. Zoroski added 17, Dusan Sakota had 13 and Georgalis12. Lamayne Wilson nailed n21 for Asvel, Uchenna Nsomwu collected 19 while Conley and Laurent Foirest had 12 apiece.
Wilson gave Asvel an early 9-6 margin, but the answer from the guests was immediate as back-to-back shots from downtown by Sakota and Georgalis put Panionios in front 13-16. Zoroski hit another bomb to make it 17-21. An 8-0 Asvel run followed, capped by Uchenna Nswonu, who gave the hosts a 25-21 cushion that widened to 28-23 on Foirest's three-pointer to end the first quarter. Kalampokis scored 6 consecutive to start the second quarter by getting Panionios back in the game and setting up a go-ahead basket by Antanas Kavaliauskas at 30-31. The lead went back and fourth between the teams until a 37-37 tie showed on the scoreboard after 16 minutes, when Asvel's Aymeric Jeanneau scored from the three-point land. Nsomwu converted a three-point-play to push the hosts ahead 43-39, Yannis Giannoulis answered to put the visitors in front 45-48 and finally Conley struck again from long distance to even the score, 48-48, at halftime. After the break, balance continued. Even when Wilson scored from beyond the arc for a 57-52 Asvel advantage, Yannis Giannoulis tied within a couple minutes for Panionios The shooters were on fire and Sakota, from beyond the arc, lifted the guests in front, 61-65. The fireworks continued with Foirest and Zoroski exchanging three-pointers for a 68-68 tie late in the quarter. Chevon Troutman from the foul line and Yohann Sangare from downtown gave a 73-68 advantage to Asvel when the third quarter was over. When Georgalis forged yet another tie, 75-75 at the midway point of the last quarter, drama was guaranteed! With 3 minutes left, the teams were still tied, 82-82, after Brad Newly scored from mid-range for Panionios. The final was an incredible thriller: Sangare gave Asvel an 86-84 cushion from the foul line, Kalampokis tied from mid range, then Zoroski made his free throws to give Panionios the lead for good.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008