BCM Gravelines continued to be one of the surprises of the young ULEB Cup season as it grabbed a share of the Group A lead Tuesday with a 78-87 victory on the road at Jabones Pardo Fuenlabrada in Spain. Gravelines now share group leadership with Joventut Badalona, as both teams tied at 3-1, while Fuenlabrada fell to 1-3. The French guests put four scorers in double digits, led by forward Danny Strong with 19 points on almost perfect 6-for-8 shooting from the field. Newcomer Frankie King, making his debut just a few days after being signed, adding 16 points while Geoff Lear contributed 12 with 8 rebounds, Ali Bouziane 10 points and 5 assists. Jabones Pardo, who played from behind throughout the game, got 17 points from Richard Scott and Walter Herrmann, 14 from Francesc Solana and 10 from David Wood. Fuenlabrada paid for bad shooting, making just 26 for 62 from the field (42%).
Gravelines took early leads as Strong and King were able to get to the basket. The guests were suddenly ahead by double digits, 15-26, in the first quarter, thanks also to Ivan Perica's contribution. He helped Gravelines take an early edge in rebounding that would grow to 32-23 by the end fo the game. Gravelines aslo checked the tempo of the game, running on the break and trying to avoid forced shots. Only one point from the line stopped the bleeding for Jabones Pardo which still trailed 16-26 after 9 minutes. Jabones Pardo had its reaction in the second quarter, despite foul trouble that limited Wood to just 22 minutes. Herrmann and Scott added something, and together with Solana's triples (4 for 6 from beyond the arc), Jabones Pardo was back into the game with only 3 points to make up at halftime, 40-43.
After the intermission, Gravelines took back the control of the rhythm, denying hosts to run on the break and forcing them to play against a set defense. The partial of the third period said 16-24 for Gravelines, who beated the Jabones Pardo defense with powerful drives inside for easy layups. Jabones Pardo was close to surrendering after 30 minutes, as Gravelines was back to a double-digit lead of 11 points, 56-67. Guests controlled the tempo, slowing down the game and hitting key baskets in the first half of the last quarter, to resist the hosts' predictable attempt to come back. Herrmann tried it the last, but Frankie King sank a couple of jumpers and the free throws that made things clear at the end, 72-85 with less than 2 minutes to go.
Tuesday, November 5, 2002