SLUC Nancy topped Bennet Cantu 76-75
SLUC Nancy outlasted Bennet Cantu in a game that went down to the wire 76-75. Cantu had the last shot down 3 points, but came up with just 2 in the last second allowing Nancy to celebrate a tough win. Pape Philippe Amagou drained 18 points and Jamal Shuler added 12 for the winners. The victory turned group A into a feast of possibilities, as Nancy joined three other teams in second place with 3-3 records, including Cantu, with four games to go. Nancy managed to pull out the win despite committing 16 turnovers – double Cantu’s total – and getting only 4 points from star Nicolas Batum as Amagou came up big and the team outshot the visitors across the board. Cantu was led by Maarten Leunen’s 18 points and Vladimir Micov’s 14.
Both teams scored their initial points in the paint before Leunen buried a three-pointer to put Cantu out front 6-7. Cantu scored the next 6 points on layups by Micov and Giorgi Shermadini, and a short-range jumper by Manuchar Markoishvili to take a 6-13 lead. Victor Samnick quickly answered for Nancy with a rainbow three-pointer and cut the deficit to 9-13. After Andrea Cinciarini knocked down a three-pointer and Markoishivil added a baseline floater, Jamal Shuler banked in a layup to make it 11-18. Micov spun to the basket to extend Cantu's lead, but then Amagou scored 4 for the hosts on free throws and a jump shot to slice the lead to 16-20 after 10 minutes.
Nancy charged ahead with 7 points to start the second quarter as Samnick drove hard for a layup, Amagou drained a three-pointer and Shuler darted to the rim for another layup, which gave the hosts the lead 23-20. Gianluca Basile silenced the run with a three-pointer and a foul shot to reclaim the lead. Samnick and Denis Marconato exchanged layups, then Bantum hammered home a dunk to put Nancy out front 27-26, as the game settled into a seesaw battle. After Basile’s free throws and Adrien Moerman’s whirling layup in the paint, Amagou found the range from downtown again. Shermadini answered down low, then Samnick downed free throws to give Nancy a little daylight at 34-30. Cinciarini pulled Cantu within 2 points, but Kenneth Grant’s free throws and three-pointer in transition pushed it back up to 39-32. After free throws, John Linehan buried a deep three-pointer and soon added free throws to give Nancy a double-digit lead at the half, 45-33.
Micov scored 8 in a 12-point Cantu surge to open the half – including knocking down 2 triples – as the visitors quickly pulled even at 45-45. Nancy got its footing back and hit 3 consecutive baskets to reclaim the lead, 51-45, but then Leunen buried a triple and Micov hit free throws get within 51-50. After Shuler tore to the basket for 2 points, Leunen stroked another bomb to knot the game again, 53-53. Amagou split free throws, then Shermadini drove right for a layup and Cinciarini lofted a triple from the corner to put the visitors’ out front 54-58. The lead stayed at 4 points until Markoishivili powered to the rim with 3 second to go in the quarter, giving Cantu a 56-62 lead.
Both teams racked up points in a hurry in the opening minute-and-a-half of the final quarter, capped off by a one-handed Akinbala slam-dunk that put Nancy close again at 64-66. Amagou found Moreman down low on a laser pass to answer Basile free throws. Amagou then made a layup and Linehan dished off to Akinbala for another dunk that gave Nancy a 10-2 run and the lead, 70-68. The margin increased to 74-68 on Moerman’s flying offensive put-back and Shuler’s slashing drive, prompting a Cantu timeout with a 1:40 on the clock. The visitor’s cut the lead to 74-73 with 10 seconds left on a Leunen layup and three-pointer, then Shuler knocked down 2 free throws and set up a final possession for the visitors. But rather than look for a triple, Cantu opted for Leunen’s 2-pointer under the basket as time ran out, giving Nancy the win by a nose, 76-75.
Thursday, November 24, 2011