Dynamo Moscow broke part of a Group A tie in positive fashion before its home fans by downing Le Mans by a solid 74-57 on Wednesday thanks to stellar defense. Dynamo improved to 3-2 with the result, while dropping Le Mans a victory behind at 2-3. After holding Le Mans to 7 points in the second quarter, Dynamo was leading by a comfortable 40-23 at the break, but in the third quarter, Le Mans woke up used consecutive three-pointers by Nicolas Batum to pull within 47-43. Antonis Fotsis brought down the house with a nine-meter triple on the third-quarter buzzer, however, and Dynamo never looked back as Eddie Gill helped guard a big margin the rest of the way. Fotsis was Dynamo's best scorer with 17 points. Dmitry Domani added 16 and Gill posted 10 of his 15 points in the last quarter. For Le Mans, Kenny Gregory led the way with 12 points, Tyson Wheeler had 11 and Eric Campbell 10 plus 11 rebounds.
After Le Mans center Sandro Nicevic was called for an offensive foul to start the game, a sign of problems to come for the guests, Travis Hansen opened fire from the arc for Dynamo. Nicevic replied with a basket before Domani drove to find a three-point basket-plus-free throw. At the other end, Dynamo's defense pushed hard to keep Le Mans from getting started, and the difference escalated to 10-4 when Antonis Fotsis sank free throws. Le Mans had serious problems scoring until Kenny Gregory finally saw the rim with a layup. That seemed to uncork Le Mans. Tyson Wheeler stole and sent Yannick Bokolo for a dunk, then rose for a triple of his own to make it 15-13 in minute 8. Hansen kept Dynamo ahead, but Gregory soon landed a new bomb from downtown to tie the score, 16-16. Fotsis made up for a previous mistake by striking with a triple that left Dynamo in front 19-16 after 10 minutes.
Eddie Gill opened the second quarter with Dynamo's third triple, after which the defense of the hosts kept Le Mans quiet until the athleticism of Bokolo earned him a layup. Dynamo looked for static attacks now as Yuri Vasilyev hit a five-meter jumper for a 24-18 score. The scoring run of the hosts continued with a Sergei Monya triple off the backboard. By the time Nicevic was called for a technical foul, his third, the lead was 30-19 on a free throw by Domani. Far from surrendering, Le Mans stayed aggressive as Nicolas Batum had a three-point play, but on defense, the visitors let Dynamo find easy baskets as Fotsis slammed to make it 34-23. Fotsis added 4 more points in a 6-0 finish to the half that put Dynamo way ahead, 40-23.
Making his first appearance of the seasaon, Le Mans big man Alain Koffi drove through Dynamo's defense for a layup to start the second half. Dynamo was less active than in the second quarter, but maintainted a big lead, 40-25, after 23 minutes. The Le Mans defense was now keeping Dynamo quiet as Campbell added a three-point play for the visitors. Andrei Trushkin finally broke the ice for Dynamo with free throws in the 24th minute, but Gregory and Koffi scored again for Le Mans to make it 42-31. Vasilyev and Monya combined then for 5 points to re-open a big lead, 47-33. Le Mans was not done, however. Gregory flew over Vasilyev for a basket-plus-free throw and Wheeler soon blasted for 3 points on one shot to make it 47-40. After a Dynamo timeout, Wheeler was at it again, striking from the arc to end a 0-10 run with Le Mans as close as 47-43. Hansen rescued Dynamo with a basket and then Fotsis had the last word from deep, beating the buzzer with a nine-meter triple that gave new life to Dynamo after three quarters, 52-45.
Domani and Gill scored easy baskets for Dynamo to start the fourth quarter, restoring a 58-45 advantge and destroying much of what Le Mans had accomplished earlier. Koffi recovered a loose ball to score his team's first points of the final quarter, but Fotsis squashed any hopes of the visitors with a new triple that made it a 14-point game, 61-47. NIcevic finally woke up for Le Mans with 3 straight baskets, but Gill replied with 2 three-pointers. As nobody else on Le Mans was ready to take over on offense, Dynamo was soon flirted with a 20-point advantage, getting as close as 72-53 on Bojan Popovic's free throw. Dynamos's defense didn't relax as Gill had a steal and free throws to finish another Dynamo home win.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006