The Eurocup debuted in St. Petersburg, Russia with a thriller on Tuesday as host Spartak outlasted Turk Telecom 85-83 after a game-long back-and-forth struggle that promises great competitiveness in Group E. Aleksey Zozulin and Zakhar Pashutin combined for allthe points in a game-changing 10-0 run by the hosts early in the final quarter. Spartak's defense did the rest, holding on at the finish to celebrate a narrow opening-game victory. James White led the winners with 20 points while shooting in 8 of 9 two-point shots. Zozulin finished with 15 points, Levance Fields 13, Milovan Rakovic 12 and Zakhar Pashutin 11 for Spartak. For Turk Telekom, the big gun was Lamayne Wilson with 22 points, including 6 of 8 three-pointers. Demond Mallet went 5 for 9 from downtown and added 19 points, while Huseyin Besok scored 16. Erwin Dudley registered the game's only double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Spartak started its Eurocup debut strong, as Zakhar Pashutin and Yahor Meshcharakou helped build a 9-5 lead. Huseyin Besok's 5 points in a row got Turk Telekom closer. Spartak tried with 5 points by White to escape, going up 18-12, but Mallet matched him and Dudley took over for the visitors inside to make it 20-19. A basket by Fields provided the only points of the first quarter's final minute as Spartak led 22-19. Zozulin struck with a triple at 25-21 early in the second quarter, but Turk Telekom was not going away. Indeed, the visitors seized their first lead as Wilson struck from downtown at 25-26. White, Zozulin and Fields reclaimed the edge for Spartak at 34-29, but Tutku Acik and Besok took it right back for Turk Telekom with 6 straight points. Back and forth the teams tugged over the lead until Layman and Mallet went boom-boom-boom from the arc to let Turk Telekom take a 44-46 advantage into halftime of a scintillating scoring show.
The tug-of-war over the lead continued into the third quarter as White and Meshcharakou put Spartak back up 50-46, only to see Mallett and Dudley team up again to strike back for the guests. Mallet's next three-pointer seemed to give Turk Telekom momentum at 56-60, and when Fields answered from downtown, Wilson responded again from that distance for the guests. Bekir Yarangume joined the shooting display for the guests as Turk Telekom took a 63-68 advantage into the fourth quarter. A big triple by Andre Owens, his assist to Dudley and a triple by Wilson seemd to bode well for the visitors at 70-76 with 7 minutes left, but it would be quite awhile before Turk Telekom scored again as the Spartak defense took over now. At the same time, Pashutin and Zozulin turned into the only scorers on the floor. Zozulin's followed a dunk with a three-point shot to seize the lead at 77-76, then Pashutin fired from downtown to make it a 10-0 run and an 80-76 lead for Spartak. Besok stopped Turk Telekom's slide with free throws and a layup, but Fields matched him with a layup before Zozulin hit another three-pointer at 85-80. A tense, scoreless final 2 minutes for the hosts didn't threaten the victory, however, as Spartak's defense held on for an 85-83 victory in the club's Eurocup debut!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009