The closeness of the Group A standings was reflected again Tuesday in another tight game in Bonn, Germany. In the end, host Telekom Baskets got what it was after, an 84-80 victory and a better position for the future, but not before Gravelines of France showed great heart in trying a comeback at the end. Bonn's record rose to 3-3 while Gravelines fell to 4-2 and will likely share first place now. The scoring ace for the winners was again Aleksandar Nadjfeji with 20 points. Brad Traina added 17, Brian Brown and Aleksandar Radojevic 13 each for Bonn. Center Geoff Lear led Gravelines with 20 poins, while Frankie King dropped 19 and Ali Bouziane 10.
Telekom Bonn tried to escape after the first 4 minutes in the first period with a 13-8 advantage, but King scoring 5 straight points to tie for Gravelines. Then a three-pointer by Benoit Georget extended the run to 0-8 as the guests surged ahead 13-16. That lead grew to 15-19 for Gravelines before Bonn was able to close the qaurter with a basket from Brian Brown for 17-19 on the scoreboard. In the second period the game continued close and balanced as the teams alternated small leads. A big triple from Greg Miler gave the lead to Bonn again at 26-24, but in the last seconds, Lear was on fire and gave the halftime lead to Gravelines, 36-39. Lear was already up to 14 points for the visitors, while the main contributor for Bonn was Nadjfeji, who netted 10 points.
The second half started with incredible balance, both teams going ahead, being caught then catching the other. In the 35th minute, Bonn's defense forced bad shots on Gravelines and controlled the boards to launch an 11-1 run and go ahead 62-51. Nadifeji, Traina and Olouma Nnamaka were the protagonists, but at the buzzer Bouziane hit a midrange jumper to pull Gravelines within 62-54. To start the last period, the hometeam made another run, and this time it was decisive. After 3 minutes, Bonn's lead was up to 76-59. In the remaining minutes, Gravelines made a big effort to close the gap and save the head-to head margin, putting on a fullcourt press as Nadjfeji fouled out for Bonn. The visitors cut the lead to 78-75 after a 0-9 run, but Rencher and Traina had the right accuracy from the line to reject the French attempt. Despite a three-pointer of Georget, Bonn won with the final 84-80.
Tuesday, December 3, 2002