Asvel Basket took the all-French showdown in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds by downing BCM Gravelines 80-72 in Vilnius, Lithuania on Friday. Asvel stayed in the race to reach the 2011-12 Euroleague and will go against Galatasaray in Round 2 tomorrow at 19:45 CET. Gravelines will play the Eurocup next season - returning to the competition for the first time since 2004-05. Phil Goss paced the winners with 25 points on 5-of-8 three-pointers. Kim Tillie added 17 while Edwin Jackson and Dijon Thompson each had 10 for Asvel. JK Edwards, Andrew Albicy and Juby Johnson each had 13 points for Gravelines while Yannick Bokolo added 11. Goss led a 8-0 run that allowed Asvel to get an early 19-11 lead. Johnson and Ludovic Vaty stepped up to make Gravelines tie the game, 33-33, at halftime. Goss stayed unstoppable after the break and got some help from Jackson to give Asvel a 60-52 margin after 30 minutes. Gravelines managed to get within 75-71 in the next-to-last minute but Thompson and Tillie allowed Asvel to keep fighting for Euroleague glory.
Hilton Armstrong got Asvel going with free throws but a second-chance layup by Edwards and a reverse basket by Rudy Jomby soon gave Gravelines a 2-4 lead. Armstrong dunked it and Thompson struck from downtown in a 7-0 Asvel run that Tillie capped with a layup for a 9-4 score. Bokolo downed a triple while Edwards and a wild slam by Jomby tied it at 11-11. Tillie buried a three-pointer and a jumper by Goss restored a 16-11 Asvel edge. Leo Westermann joined the three-point shootout, as Gravelines kept collecting turnovers. Gravelines, however, improved its defense late in the first quarter. Johnson tried to change things with a bomb from downtown but only managed to bring his team within 19-14 after 10 minutes.
Goss struck from downtown early in the second quarterand free throws by Jamie Skeen soon made it a double-digit game, 24-14. Vaty tried to ignite Gravelines' comeback with a jump hook but a put-back basket by Tillie kept Asvel way ahead, 26-16. Vaty kept trying trying to change things with a backdoor layup and free throws by Albicy gave Gravelines some hope, 26-21. Tillie kept pacing Asvel with another basket and Goss downed a three-pointer that restored a nine-point margin, 31-22. Johnson quickly answered from downtown and Bokolo matched Paul Lacombe's free throws with an easy basket for a 33-27 score. Cyril Akpomedah took over with a turnaround jumper and 4-of-5 free throws by Johnson tied the game 33-33, at halftime.
Vaty and Albicy made free throws immediately after the break to give Gravelines a 35-37 lead. Tillie knocked down a four-meter jumper and a jump hook by Armstrong put Asvel back ahead, 39-37. Bokolo sank a floater in penetration that Goss bettered with a three-pointer. Vaty found space for a backdoor layup that Tillie erased with a tip-in. Goss buried another triple to give Asvel some fresh air, 47-41. Jomby answered from downtown, as both teams kept trading baskets at full speed. Armstrong and Goss kept pacing but back-to-back three-pointers by Akpomedah and Bokolo brought Gravelines within 51-50. Jackson sank an off-balance shot and followed Goss' fifth triple with a driving layup to make Asvel regain a 58-50 edge. Edwards stepped up with a jumper but free throws by Jackson allowed Asvel to keep a 60-52 lead after 30 minutes.
Both teams went scoreless for almost 2 minutes until Edwards split free throws. Thompson bettered that with 3-of-3 foul shots to make Asvel regain a double-digit lead, 63-53. Gravelines struggled to score right when it mattered most but Edwards tried to change his team's dynamics with free throws. Both teams were into the foul penalty with 6 minutes left and started to find easy baskets. Edwards scored down low but Thompson and Goss kept Asvel way ahead, 67-57. Gravelines found a go-to guy in Albicy, who nailed back-to-back three-pointer off a timeout but a wild fallaway jumper by Jackson ignited a 6-0 run that Goss capped with an off-balance shot for a a 73-63 score with under 3 minutes left. Edwards and Albicy brought Gravelines back to life and a three-pointer by Johnson got his team within 75-71 with 1:22 left. A long jumper by Thompson and a wild dunk by Tillie allowed Asvel to seal the win in style.
Friday, September 30, 2011