Alba Berlin shook off the loss of its top scorer early in the game to prevail by 74-72 over visiting DKV Joventut
Alba Berlin shook off the loss of its top scorer early in the game to prevail by 74-72 over visiting DKV Joventut at O2 World in the German capital on Thursday. The victory lifted Alba's record to 2-2 in Group C, good for sole possesion of fourth place, with three teams tied at 3-1. Joventut fell to 1-3 despite having a chance to win or tie with the ball and 7 seconds left. Pau Ribas shot falling down and missed, however his team's single basket in the first 7 minutes, 30 seconds of the fourth quarter was more to blame. Berlin saw top scorer Julius Jenkins go down in a collision with Desmond Mallet midway through the second quarter, never to return. The hosts got an ensemble effort, however, with Ansu Sesay scoring 15 points and Adam Chubb posting a double-double of 12 and 10 rebounds. Aleskandar Nadjfeji scored 12, too, while Steffan Hamman and Jenkins added 10 each. Luka Bogdanovic led the visitors with 21 points by hitting 7 of 12 three-pointers, the last of which made cut the difference to 71-70 in the final minute. A series of free throws moved the scoreboard to 74-72 before Rashad Wright missed his pair with 7 seconds left, but Joventut couldn't get a clean shot off and Alba took the victory. Simas Jasaitis added 13 points for Joventut, while Jan Jagla put up 11.
Mallet opened the scoring for the guests with a mid-range jumper. Chubb answered right back for Berlin. Two turnovers and a three-point miss by Mallett paved the way for Sesay to knock down his second jumper, this one a three-pointer from the right wing, to put Alba up 8-2. Bogdanovic answered with a triple of his own to bring Joventut within 8-7 but Hamann converted a three-point play for an 11-7 advantage to the hosts. The teams swapped baskets before Aleksandar Nadjfefi’s layup extended Alba's advantage to 17-11. Mallet replied with a triple and Jan Jagla hit from downtown, too, trimming the margin to 19-17. Next, Jagla stepped in front of a Berlin pass for a steal and break-away dunk to knot the game at 19-19 after 10 minutes.
Mallet and Jagla both missed three-pointers and then Joventut turned the ball over as two free throws each by Sesay and Chubb and a triple by Julius Jenkins pushed Alba’s lead to 26-20. Joventut finally scored its first basket of the quarter on Bogdanovic’s triple three minutes into the period to cut the deficit to 26-23. And Berlin coach Luka Pavicevic was forced to call a timeout after Simas Jasaitis knocked down a jumper to make it 26-25. Jenkins hit a long ball and then two foul shots to push Berlin back ahead 31-27. Edu Hernandez-Sonseca’s first basket of the game made it 31-29. But Sesay hit a triple and Nadjfeji scored in the paint to increase the advantage to 36-31. Joventut again used the long ball as Bogdanovic nailed back-to-back three-pointers to give Joventut the lead 36-37 – its first since the first basket of the game, forcing another Berlin timeout. Sesay willed home a reverse layup as Alba pushed back ahead 38-37. And that was the lead at the break.
Immanuel McElroy boosted Alba's edge with a quick layup after the break, which meant something more as neither team got a clean shot for awhile until Nadjfeji downed a baseline jumper. Next, Bracey Wright broke to the basket for Joventut, while McElroy did the same for Alba to make it 45-39. Bogdanovic finally got a good look from deep for Joventut and didn't waste it, but Sesay connected with Nadjfeji to keep Alba up. Points were loosening up as Bracey Wright scored and Ferran Laviña hit free throws for a 46-46 tie, but Rashad Wright answered for Alba on the break and then fed McElroy again to make it 50-46. Jagla lifted Joventut now with a key triple, and after Rashad Wright drove for another layup for Alba, Pau Ribas made free throws to get Joventut within 52-51. After Chubb hit free throws, Jasaitis took the honor of tying 54-54 from downtown. Ribas put Joventut ahead at the line. The, after Sesay skied to stop his fastbreak layup, Ribas put the finishing touch on the quarter by striking from three-point distance at the top to leave Joventut ahead on the scoreboard, 56-61 after 30 minutes.
Both teams struggled offensively early in the fourth against the other side’s defense. But Chubb hit a jumper and tipped in a McElroy miss. Hamann then scored on a driving layup after a Chubb steal and the hosts pulled to within 62-63 with 7 minutes left. Joventut turned the ball over three times in the first first minutes of the fourth, causing a Joventut time out. Jagla made just 1 of 2 foul shots and then Chubb knotted the game at 64-64 with an inside layup, sending the 10,164 fans at the O2 World arena into a frenzy. Henk Norel missed 2 foul shots and Nadjfeji was able to knock down 1 of 2 for a 65-64 Alba lead with 4 minutes left. Berlin then three times retained the ball on a crucial possession, which Hamann finished off with a huge three-pointer from the wing for a 68-64 lead with 2:55 remaining. Bogdanovic came up with just as big a basket for Joventut, a three-pointer to make it 68-67 – just Joventut’s second basket of the fourth quarter. But Sesay answered right back with a triple of his own to re-establish the four-point lead 71-67. Bogdanovic twice missed three-pointers but hit his third attempt from long range to make it a one-point game again, 71-70, with just under a minute left. With 39 seconds, Ferran Laviña was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul and Nadjfefi made 1 of 2 free throws. On the ensuing possession, however, Hamann knocked down both his foul shots with 20 seconds left to make it a two-possession game at 74-70. Mallet made his pair from the line with 12.3 seconds to make it 74-72, but Rashad Wright missed both of his 11.2 seconds left. Ribas looked to pass, but had to take the game in his hands and his fall-away baseline shot at the buzzer rolled over the rim.
Thursday, November 13, 2008