With a fantastic rally at the finish, CEZ Nymburk won its group and advanced to the Last 16 by downing Aris BSA 2003 of Greece by 78-72 at home in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. A smashing 11-0 run, starting with a Tre Simmons three-pointer and ending with a Pavel Pumprla dunk, eclipsed what had been a 67-72 scoreboard in favor of Aris with 2 minutes left. Nymburk improved to 4-1 and clinched first place in Group C for having beaten Aris twice and holding a points advantage against Rudupis of Lithuania. Aris is now tied with Rudupis at 3-2 for the second and final Last 16 spot from Group C. They meet next week in Thessaloniki with the winner advancing and the loser eliminated. On Tuesday, Nymburk got 22 points from Simmons and 14 from Petr Benda, who added 13 rebounds for a double-double. Pumprla had 13 more and Eugene Lawrence scored 11, 8 rebounds and 4 assists for the winners. Aris got a 28-point effort from Dominic James, but only Giorgos Bogris joined him in double figures, with 10 points.
Aris found its range from outside and used a Ronald Davis three-pointer to take an early 4-8 lead. After an exchange of layups, Eugene Lawrence and Tre Simmons drilled consecutive triples to give Nymburk a 12-10 lead. Pavel Pumprla and Petr Benda got going for Nymburk then, extending the lead to 18-12. After a layup by Simmons, James stepped up for Aris with 2 baskets, one after an offensive rebound, to cut the lead to 20-16 at the end of the first quarter. While Nymburk entered a prolonged offensive lull to start the second quarter, Aris took off on a 10-point run, helped by a three-pointer from Sam Muldrow that was worth a 20-26 lead. Simmons scored Nymburk's first points after 5 quiet minutes with a triple, cutting the difference to 23-26. The hosts knocked down 4 free throws before Drew Naymick threw down a dunk to reclaim the lead, 29-28. A two-point jumper by Simmons and layup by Benda closed the half by giving Nymburk a 34-31 advantage.
Aris came up with the first 8 points of the second half, but Lawrence nailed a three-pointer and Benda scored in the paint to tie the game 39-39. After an exchange of baskets, Adrian Abrams entered the scoring column for Nymburk, hitting 5 in a row for 46-41 lead. While Pumprla and Simmons continued the scoring for Nymburk, James led the way for Aris, cutting the lead to 51-48 on free throws. With a minute to go in the quarter, Dimitrios Tsaldaris drained a three-pointer, but Simmons had the final say, hitting 2 free throws to give the hosts a slim lead, 55-53, going into the last 10 minutes. After a dunk by Naymick, James and Muldrow each knocked down two-point jumpers for Aris to knot the game once more, 59-59. The lead seesawed several times until James hit free throws and Tsaldaris buried another triple to give Aris a 67-72 lead with 2 minutes to go. But Aris turned cold at that point and the hosts answered with 11 consecutive points, behind baskets by Simmons and Pumprla, to close out the game 78-72, and send Nymburk forward to the Last 16!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011