PAOK BC won its second straight Group F game by beating Chorale Roanne 60-72 Tuesday to end the hosts’ chances of reaching the Last 16. With the strong inside presence of Lazaros Papadopoulos, PAOK won the key rebounding battle 36-27 and stifled the hosts offensively. Rawle Marshall led the winners with 19 points and 6 rebounds, while Justin Gray netted 17 and Papadopoulos scored 13 and grabbed 11 boards. PAOK, now 2-2, hosts Asefa Estudiantes next week. It was a balanced effort for PAOK at both ends, as it blocked 5 of Roanne’s shots, while limiting imposing Uche Nsonwu to 8 points – none in the second half. Chorale Roanne was paced Dylan Page and Pape Philippe Amagou with 9 points. KC Rivers and Alex Gordon also had 8 in the loss. Roanne hosts Benetton Bwin next week in its final home game of the Eurocup season.
Marshall set off the fireworks with a three-pointer to open up the game, but Page answered with another and put Roanne in front 7-6. With the hosts shooting from outside, PAOK went to the basics and built a lead, not through Papadopolos’s powerful hands, but through Gray attacking the rim with high-percentage shots and getting to the foul line. Not that Gray didn’t try from long range, as he hit his first two triples and the second made it 18-12. Marshall quickly followed with a layup after a Robert Dozier steal, a couple of free throws and a jumper to net himself 12 first-quarter points. Nsonwu was the main focus of the hosts’ attack, as the center got the ball often and knew what to do with it. But a 2-9 run by PAOK to start the second quarter tipped the scale, with Dozier attacking the basket and Gray hitting his third triple of the night. As Papadopoulos netted his second field goal, it was a strong defensive effort by the visiting team that assured them of entering the half on top 32-43.
With improvement needed from the perimeter to complement Nsonwu’s post game, Roanne worked to get some better looks in the third quarter, but it was Marshall again delivering the first points, this time from the line, and PAOK pulled away with a 3-11 run which featured plenty of Papadopoulos at both ends. Alex Dunn stopped the bleeding for Roanne with his first bucket of the game, but the wound was open with Nsonwu stuck at 8 points and Gordon providing the only offensive spark with a triple. As PAOK relied on Marshall’s steadiness on offense, Braud Philippe came through for Roanne with his first basket of the game, a triple, that left things at 45-56, entering the final quarter. Philippe hit another triple to give Roanne reasons to believe and cut the lead to 8 points at the start of the period, but Donnie McGrath followed suit for PAOK. The hosts kept at it: another triple by Souleyman Diabate and a three point play by Alexis Tanghe suddenly made it a two-possession game at 54-59 and plenty left to play. The visitors countered with Todor Gecevski inside and a three by Giorgios Dedas before Papadopoulos, who was having his way inside with the visiting big men in the second half, scored two straight buckets to widen the lead to 12 with four minutes left. An Amagou layup made it 58-68 as Roanne went all in for a final push, but PAOK’s defense held strong, forcing 3 turnovers and limiting Roanne to just one more basket.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010