In a battle of tied teams for second place in Group G, Gran Canaria 2014 withstood a fourth-quarter charge by SLUC Nancy to eventually prevail 77-65 on Tuesday in the capital of the Canary Islands and move up an important step in the standings. The winners are now 2-1 while Nancy falls to 1-2 and might need to eclipse Tuesday's winning margin when the teams meet again in Week 4. Gran Canaria edged out to a 13-point lead in the second quarter thanks to some nice play from point guard Marcus Norris and big man Will McDonald. Nancy was far from done, however, and fought back to within 5 points by halftime behind the scoring touch of John Cox, who had 10 points in the first half. Gran Canaria would once again build a 13-point cushion, but a 0-9 spurt brought Nancy back to within just 3 points midway through the fourth quarter. Gran Canaria then reeled off an 11-0 run to secure the victory for its home fans. McDonald led Gran Canaria with a game-high 19 points. Jaycee Carroll seconded the center with 16 points while Norris had 10 points and 6 assists. James Carroll added 10 more points for the winners. John Cox finished with 16 points to pace Nancy while Ricardo Greer chipped in with 12 points and 8 rebounds in the losing effort.
Marcus Slaughter drew first blood for Nancy with a dunk before Norris cut inside for a layup and Kickert Daniel added a three-pointer. Steed Tchicamboud and Ricardo Greer made back-to-back layups to grab an early 5-6 lead for the visitors. Norris found James Augustine for the inside score, and Sitapha Savane added a layup. Jim Moran was fouled on a three-pointer and made all his shots. Savane hit in close again, and McDonald, fresh off the bench, put the home team up 17-11 on a 2-plus-1. Cox made a free throws for Nancy, but Josh Fisher hit 2 of his own and Tomas Bellas added a layup to push Gran Canaria ahead by 11 points. Akin Akingbala dunked and Cox added another free throw to end the first quarter 24-15. Savane went 1-of-2 from the free throw to open the second period. Akingbala and McDonald traded layups before Norris drained a three-pointer to give Gran Canaria a 30-17 advantage. Akingbala scored again inside and Ricardo Greer tossed in a free throw. Norris got to the glass for 2 points, but Cox dropped a three-point bomb to cut the deficit to 9. Out of a Gran Canaria timeout, Cox kept Nancy going with a layup. Kickert scored inside, but Ricardo Greer powered his way in for a slam and Cox struck again from behind the three-point arc and the lead was only 4 points. Fisher hit a pair of foul shots and Carroll followed with a jumper and Gran Canaria went into the locker room up 38-33.
Ricardo Greer went 1-of-2 from the line at the beginning of a very defensive third period in which points came at a premium. Moran assisted Augustine for a field goal, but Slaughter drew a foul on Norris and tossed in a pair of free throws. Carroll then exploded for 5 straight points on a three and a jump shot. Cox hit back with a layup, but McDonald muscled in for the score and foul, which the center converted for a 48-38 Gran Canaria lead. Tchicamboud connected from long range to keep Nancy close, but McDonald stayed aggressive and notched 2 more points down low. Carroll went 2-of-2 from the line to reestablish a 13-point bulge for the home team. Jeff Greer stepped up and made a three-pointer, his first shot of the game, to keep Nancy close. Ricardo Greer then cut the deficit to 57-47 heading into the final quarter. Augustine made a layup, but Ricardo Greer maneuvered in for a bucker to open the final stanza. Jeff Greer drained his second three and Slaughter scored inside. After a timeout by Gran Canaria, Cox added a pair of free throws to cap the 0-9 run that pulled Nancy to within 59-56. Carroll took the initiative for the home team scoring inside. Moran immediately followed suit. McDonald stepped outside a drilled a three, and Augustine scored 4 straight points to finish the 11-0 response by Gran Canaria to regain control of the game at 70 -56 with under four minutes to play. Akingbala and Slaughter both muscled in for baskets, but Norris nailed a three and McDonald notched 2 more points in close to put the game out of reach.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009