Asvel Basket reduced the Group D race to three teams with two regular season games left by stopping winless Telenet Oostende of Belgium 83-65 at home in Villeurbanne, France on Tuesday. Asvel raised its record to 3-1, good for a first-place tie with Valencia Basket, while winless Oostende dropped to 0-4, eliminated. The Belgian team cannot reach the Last 16 now, while Asvel likely must win at home next week against Lukoil to control its destiny. Edwin Jackson scored 18 points to pace Asvel to victory Tuesday. Dijon Thompson added 12 points and Paul Lacombe 10, including 5 in a seven-point possession shortly before halftime that put the Asvel advantage into double digits for good. Oostende got 14 points from Dusan Sakota and 13 from Jason Rich, but suffered from long stretches in which it could not get past Asvel's defense.
A 5-0 start with dunks by Leo Westermann and Jackson set the tone for Asvel. Hilton Armstrong slammed for good measure before Thompson's three-pointer, the game's first, had the hosts ahead 10-4. He and Jackson dialled up 2 more shots from the arc to make it 16-6 before the Asvel defense took over. The result was Oostende being held scoreless for the final 4 minutes of a first quarter that ended with Asvel holding a commanding 18-8 advantage. Bangaly Fofana opened the second quarter with a slam for Asvel before the team's settled to trading baskets, with 6 points by Rich keeping Oostende from drowning at 28-18. Asvel tried to pull away on quick baskets by tillie, but Rich answerd from downtown and Chris Booker from closer to slice the difference to single digits, 32-23. Veselin Petrovic kept that distance with a layup for the guests before a technical foul on Dusan Djordjevic gave Asvel a seven-point possession capped by Lacombe's triple. Like that, the difference had ballooned to 15 points although Dusan Katnic and Booker scored last for Oostende to leave a 41-29 scoreboard at the half.
Asvel's defense came out to play again after halftime as Tillie and Thompson jacked the lead back up to 46-29. Oostende got to the foul line repeatedly but couldn't get closer than 53-40 on a Sakota three-pointer. Asvel's defense kicked in again, holding Oostende to just 3 free throws in 4 minutes as Phil Goss and Jackson eased the hosts to a 62-45 advantage after 30 minutes. Sakota tried to pick up Oostende's scoring pace and avoid its imminent elimination early in the fourth quarter, but Jackson refused to let Asvel relax, and with 7 points of his own pushed the lead above 20 points, to 71-50, with 6 minutes left. Westermann and Lacombe soon provided the highest lead, 76-52, which assured Asvel the victory and an ongoing share of Group D's first place with two games left in the regular season.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011