Aris TT Bank rallied in the closing minutes at home on Wednesday to take an important 74-72 victory over Pau-Orthez in Group C. Pau led by 9 with under 4 minutes to go but a late triple by Michael Wilkinson and free throws by Terrell Castle and Alex Scales down the stretch sealed an 8-1 finishing run and the victory for Aris. Pau missed a last triple that could have meant its second road win, but now both teams are tied 2-2 in the middle of the group standings. Castle led all Aris scorers with 19 points, Scales added 18, Jeremiah Massey had 15 plus 12 boards and Savvas Iliadis 13. For Pau, who led 61-69 in minute 37, Britton Johnsen had 19 points and Clint Harrison posted 14.
Johnsen, Harrison and Ricardo Greer got Pau off to a quick 4-7 lead. That kept growing with free throws by Miles and Johnsen to reach 9-12 as only Scales, with 7 points already, was scoring so far for Aris. After Savvas Iliadis and Castle joined him, Scales came up with a three-point basket-plus-free throw that put gave the hosts their first lead at 16-15. Massey and Castle combined on 5 free throws to make it 21-17 before Cedric Ferchaud canned a triple for Pau. Iliadis and Miles traded 4 points each to close the quarter with Aris clinging to a 25-24 advantage.
Pau's defense locked up Aris to start the second quarter while Ian Mahinmi and Harrison, with a three-pointer, seized a 25-29 lead for the guests. Only a Wilkinson free throw fell during 6 otherwise scoreless minutes for the hosts as Johnsen added 6 consecutive points to finish a 1-12 run that left Pau with a double-digit lead, 26-36. Massey took responsibility for lead Aris back with 6 points of his own in response, but Mahinmi returned with a jumper and Harrison another from beyond the arc to let the visitors escape to the lockers ahead by 35-41.
Castle and Johnsen dueled with three-point baskets-plus-free throws after the break. Scales took over then for the hosts with a dunk followed by a triple that let Wilkinson tie it up, 47-47, on a layup midway through the third quarter. Castle now heated up for Aris. He would add a pair triples in barely a minute, between which Greer and Miles scored for Pau, and finish the quarter with more free throws that left the hosts with their biggest lead yet, 55-50.
Biggest lead or not, all looked over for Aris after Pau opened the fourth quarter with a spectacular 2-16 blast. Wright started it at the foul line before Michael Bauer connected on consecutive shots from long range to take back the lead, 57-58, for Pau. He continued with a layup to which Xane D'Almeida added a tripls and Johnsen a three-point play inside for a stunning 57-66 scoreboard with 5 minutes left. Scales broke the spell for Aris with a layup, but when D'Almeida matched him, it was still 59-68 for Pau headed into the last 3 minutes. But that was basically the last the guests were seen. Iliadis hit free trhows and a triple to change the game in a single minute, bringing Aris within 66-69. Although Wright squeezed in a shot for Pau, Wilkinson answered immedately from the arc to make it 69-71. A free throw by Wright and Pau's scoring was over, while Iliadis, Castle and Scales went to the line over the last minute to make 5 free throws that completed the comeback. Harrison tried to win it for Pau with a triple at the buzzer, but when it missed, Aris had its second Group C home win.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006