ASVEL survives Bayern late rally to extend winning streak
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne claimed its fifth win a row by downing visiting FC Bayern 87-79 at the Astroballe on Friday. The hosts built an 18-point advantage midway through the third period, but Bayern never gave up and managed to tie it, 77-77, entering crunch time. Six points and one assist by Norris Cole at that moment allowed ASVEL to stay calm and escape with a valuable win that improves its record to 11-14. Bayern dropped to 15-10 and snapped a three-game winning streak. David Lighty paced ASVEL with 19 points, as Moustapha Fall tallied 15 points and 9 boards, while Cole, Antoine Diot and William Howard contributed 12, 12 and 10 points respectively. Wade Baldwin IV led the visitors with 19 points and 6 assists, followed by Vladimir Lucic, who scored 18 on 3-of-5 three-point shooting, while Jalen Reynolds added 12 points and Dennis Seeley got 11 in a losing effort.
Neither ASVEL nor Bayern managed to take control of the game and leads were traded in the early going. The visitors had a more balanced offense and all five Bayern players scored after 6 minutes, good for a 10-13 Bayern’s edge. Lucic made it 12-16 from downtown, but ASVEL reacted in style right after Fall stepped on court and sparked a 9-2 run capped by a layup off-the-steal by Howard to finish the first quarter ahead, 21-18. Reynolds defied Fall with two consecutive buckets to get Bayern back in front, but Fall and Amine Noua strung together a couple of jams to restore a 25-22 advantage soon after. Guerschon Yabusele extended it to 30-26 with a trey, but a three-point play by Lucic and another bucket by Reynolds switched the lead once again. Fall rocked inside and answered with 6 points to boost ASVEL, followed by a corner three from Diot and a tough jumper from Cole to put the hosts up 44-35 at halftime.
Kevarrius Hayes made it a double-digit lead right after the break, before Lighty followed with a three to raise the difference to 49-35 and force an urgent timeout by Bayern. The trend didn’t change, however, as the visitors remained frozen in offense with just two points in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Diot dug it deeper with a long three to make it 57-39, and even though Baldwin IV showed up with 9 points to try to reanimate his team, ASVEL found timely treys from Matthew Strazel and Howard to break Bayern’s zone defense and enter the last period comfortably in charge. 66-52. Paul Zipser and Seeley combined for 9 points to keep Bayern breathing, 72-62, as the hosts started to struggle against Bayern’s switching defense. James Gist and Baldwin scored layups and Lucic nailed a three that made it 73-69. Lucic then added a four-point play that tied it 77-77, entering crunch time, to make it a brand-new game. Then Cole took the reins. He first scored a tough layup to keep his team calm, then assisted Fall for an easy layup, and followed with four free throws to put the game on ice and allow his team to celebrate its fifth in a row.
Norris Cole didn’t tremble when Bayern managed to dissolve an 18-point disadvantage and tie the game with two minutes remaining. He was the source of eight of ASVEL’s last 10 points, as he scored a layup, fed Moustapha Fall for an easy bucket and added four free throws to make it 85-79 with 15 seconds to go.
Another good shooting night
ASVEL had shot the ball really well in its last two games, combining to make 47 of 71 two-pointers (66.2%) and 16 of 36 threes (44.4%). Despite having a so-so accuracy in two-pointers, the hosts excelled from long-range hitting 10 out of 15 (66.7%).
Bayern fall short
David Lighty made it 59-41 for ASVEL midway through the third quarter, which seemed to be a definitive dagger in Bayern’s back. But Wade Baldwin IV came to the rescue at the end of the third period, and Paul Zipser joined with 7 points early in the fourth to reactivate Bayern. Vladimir Lucic got it all square 77-77 with two minutes to go, but no one else joined when Cole took over.
Did you know?
This was the fourth time ASVEL and Bayern have faced each other in the EuroLeague this century, and in all games the victory remained with the home team. Earlier this season, Bayern prevailed 76-62 in Munich. Last season, the teams traded wins as ASVEL won 75-65 at the Astroballe and Bayern took a 104-63 victory at the Audi Dome.
In Round 26 next week Bayern welcomes Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Thursday, as ASVEL goes on the road to face first-place FC Barcelona the day after.
Friday, February 19, 2021