Real rallies, sinks ASVEL for seventh straight
Real Madrid rallied from a double-digit deficit to down a resilient ASVEL Villeurbanne 87-78 on Thursday night in the Spanish capital. It was the seventh straight win for Real which improved its record to 22-6 and loser to securing homecourt advantage in the playoffs. ASVEL dropped to 10-18. The visitors used a strong start to open an 11-point second-quarter lead and even though Real quickly rallied, ASVEL was up 51-59 in the third quarter before the hosts put together a 23-5 charge bridging the third and fourth quarters to take control and never look back. Jaycee Carroll led the way with 19 points, Fabien Causeur added 15 while Usman Garuba collected 10 points plus 6 rebounds in the victory. Livio Jean-Charles scored 13 points and Theo Maledon had 12 points for ASVEL, Matthew Strazel finished with 11 points and 5 assists and Tonye Jekiri collected 10 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort.
Carroll opened the game with a triple and 5 points for Real, but ASVEL had a strong reply. Jean-Charles scored 6 points from close range, and David Lighty capped a 0-12 run with a jumper to give the visitors a 7-15 lead. A triple from Charles Kahudi made it to 9-18 midway through the first, before the hosts stepped up defensively to stop the bleeding. Tavares scored from close range, but ASVEL held a 14-20 edge at the end of the first quarter and Guerschon Yabusele's corner three extended it to 14-25 early in the second. But Rudy Fernandez and Causeur hit back-to-back triples to cut it to 22-25 before a triple from Trey Thompkins put Real in front 29-27. Strazel's three-point play snapped a 17-2 run before three-pointers from Yabusele and Jean-Charles restored ASVEL's slim lead, 36-38. Causuer's corner triple gave Real 39-38 halftime edge.
ASVEL opened the third quarter with a 2-8 run and Kahudi's fastbreak basket put the visitors up 41-46. Tavares showed up on defense and Carroll and Causeur hit back-to-back threes to put Real back in front 51-48. However, ASVEL replied with a 0-11 run that included a pair of jumpers from Jekiri and a triple from Devion Berry. Real answered with a 6-0 run fueled by Nicolas Laprovittola before Carroll scored 7 points including a triple that gave Real a 62-61 edge. Laprovittola's three-pointer helped the hosts take a 67-63 lead into the fourth and they stepped it up at the start of the fourth, scoring on their first three trips down the floor. Garuba's three-point play made it 74-65. Maledon and Strazel scored ASVEL's next 8 points, but Garuba had a triple and a dunk to keep the visitors at bay as Real closed things out.
Real had 17 turnovers, compared to ASVEL's 11, but the hosts finished with 37-27 rebounding advantage and dished 20 assists to ASVEL's 14.
Real center Usman Garuba, four days shy of his 18th birthday, shined with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists, including some big plays late in the fourth quarter to put ASVEL away. Real's 18-year old forward Mario Nakic got his first EuroLeague start. He finished the game playing 7:42, almost doubling his previous total, and scored 2 points. For the visitors, 18-year old Theo Maledon had 12 points, and a 17-year old Matthew Strazel had 11 points and 5 assists.
Real's veteran center Felipe Reyes is the all-time leader in the offensive rebounds. He entered the game with 699 for his career, and on the very start of the fourth quarter he became the first player with at least 700 for his career.
This was the fourth EuroLeague game this century between these two teams and the first time the home team won.
Next week in Round 29 both teams will be at home; Real hosts Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Thursday before ASVEL welcomes Zenit St Petersburg a day later.
Thursday, March 5, 2020