Arka withstands comeback to deny Limoges
Arka Gdynia gained its first win of the EuroCup season by withstanding a big comeback and downing Limoges CSP 87-78 at home. Arka (1-4) led from start to finish and was ahead by double digits for much of the game, but Limoges (2-3) fought back to just four points down in the latter stages before the host held on. Josh Bostic led the scoring for the winning team with 16 points, while Robert Upshaw combined 15 points and 7 rebounds. James Florence scored 13 points including two crucial late triples to quash the comeback. Limoges center Samardo Samuels was the game’s top scorer with 20 points, Jonathan Rouselle and William Howard both scored 15, while Dwight Hardy added 13 and Damien Inglis 10 in defeat.
Arka’s defense was the story of the first quarter, with Limoges held to just 10 points while a couple of three-pointers from Bostic and domination of the boards helped the host build up a 14-point advantage. The second quarter started with a slam from Mikolaj Witlinski to maintain the momentum, but 5 points from Howard and driving layups by Hardy and Rouselle pulled Limoges back to a single digit deficit on a 0-11 run. A triple and a three-point play by Samuels helped Limoges get closer, and it was 44-39 at the break. Arka dominated the start of the third quarter and went up by double digits through triples by Krzysztof Szubarga and Dariusz Wyka, and a long-range strike by Florence made it 59-45. Five points from Samuels reignited Limoges, but Bostic struck from deep for a 69-52 lead with ten minutes remaining. Another Limoges flurry, including a Howard triple, pulled it back to 71-61 and the home team was held scoreless for more than three minutes as nerves began to set in. After a spell of low scoring Howard struck from deep again for 77-71, but a pair of three-pointers from Florence brought relief to the host. Limoges couldn’t rally again, and the win was safe for Arka.
Strong starts to halves see Arka home
Both halves were halves of two halves, with Arka dominating the first and third quarters while Limoges did likewise in the second and fourth. Ultimately, the dominant first quarter produced by the home team – which led by 24-10 after ten minutes – was enough to establish a big enough cushion for a lead which was never overtaken.
Inside shooting woes cost Limoges
The visiting team suffered particular problems with its inside game during the opening quarter, with Jerry Boutsiele making only one of his first four two-point attempts and fellow big man Samuels missing his first five in a row. Samuels, to his credit, then recovered to lead Limoges’s attempted comeback, but the margin was already too big.
Historic night in Gdynia
This wasn’t only Arka’s first win of the season, but also the Polish team’s first victory on the European stage for nearly six years. Arka last took part in a continental competition in the 2012-13 EuroLeague, which it exited after the regular season with a 2-8 record. The club’s last victory came on 13 December 2012 with a 88-95 road triumph at Montepaschi Siena.
Arka will look for its second win of the season with a road trip to Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, and Limoges will attempt to return to winning ways on the road against Cedevita Zagreb.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018