Spartak St. Petersburg held off a late Spirou Charleroi charge for an 80-69 win to remain in the heart of the Group E race. Milovan Rakovic scored 17 and Goran Suton produced a double-double as Spartak improved to 2-1. Meanwhile the loss dropped Spirou to 0-3. The Belgian champs must beat Spartak next week in Charleroi to keep any hop of reaching the Last 16. The hosts took the lead for good with a 10-0 first-quarter charge, but Spirou always seemed close behind. However Spartak looked to end the doubt early when building an 18-point fourth-quarter lead. A sudden offensive drought coupled with a red-hot Dwayne Broyles saw Spirou get within 9, but the comeback ran out of time. Suton had perhaps his best game as a professional with 12 points and 11 rebounds. James White finished with 13 points, Yahor Meshcharakou scored 12 and Zakhar Pashutin 10 for the winners. Broyles shined in a losing effort with 26 points and 10 rebounds, Andre Riddick posted 13 and 8 and Nick Jacobson added 11 for Charleroi, which was undone by its 9-for-21 free throw shooting.
Pashutin started the game with a pair of free throws before Jure Lalic put Spirou on the board. Aleksey Zozulin drilled a three for the hosts but Broyles kept Charleroi close behind and Jacobson knotted the score at 10-10 with a triple midway through the quarter. Rakovic went to work inside with three baskets and Suton stood tall on defense during a 10-0 as Spartak started to pull away. Spirou stayed strong on baskets by Justin Hamilton and Riddick, but Suton scored from the line and in the paint and White rejected a Sacha Massot attempt as the hosts took a 26-17 lead after 10 minutes. White had a steal and slam to open the second quarter, but Charleroi stayed close as Riddick shined on both ends of the floor, cutting the gap to 5. Broyles made it 32-28 with a layup, but that only seemed to spark the home side. Pashutin answered from downtown, Meshcharakou added a basket and Pashutin scored from the line to jack the Spartak lead back to 10. Lalic made 2 foul shots for the visitors only to see Meshcharakou give St. Petersburg a 41-31 halftime lead.
Spartak tried to put the game away early in the second half as Pashutin converted a basket-plus-foul and Meshcharakou added a score. After Hamilton got the visitors a bucket, Zozulin connected from downtown for a 49-33 St. Petersburg lead. Jacobson and Broyles stepped up for the visitors, but Rakovic and Meshcharakou made sure to keep the home team advantage above 10. Broyles managed to get to within 55-48 with a basket and 2 free throws, but Suton came back with a triple, Rakovic made a three-point-play and Anton Yudin hit from outside as the lead soared back to 64-51. Broyles brought Spirou within 10, but Suton and White had the home fans dancing with a 69-54 lead at the end of the quarter. White added a triple and Rakovic a layup as the outcome started to become clear. After a Charleroi timeout, Broyles connected from downtown, soon after rose to block a Rakovic shot and then drained another three that was followed by a Jacobson bomb, but that was only enough to get within 76-65. Spartak remained stalled offensively and Riddick got his team within 9, but the clock was also working in Spartak’s favor. Levance Fields came to the rescue with a pair of free throws with just over a minute to go and White followed wit a steal and layup to effectively seal the result.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009