SIG Basketball Strasbourg improved to 2-0 in Group B by beating Anwil Wloclawek 76-85 on the road on Tuesday. The visitors trailed for much of the game, but strong second-half defense and a fourth-quarter run gave them the victory. Eight Strasbourg players finished with at least 8 points. Aerick Sanders, Lonnie Cooper and Claude Marquis had 13 points each, John McCord added 10 and Chuck Eidson finished with 9 points and 12 rebounds. Strasbourg won the battle of the boards 24-36, which was one of the factors that allowed its comeback. Andrzej Pluta started the game brilliantly, but scored just 4 of his game-high 21 points after the break and none in the last period. Gatis Jahovics added 18 and Brandon Kurtz 11 for Anwil, which was 12-of-25 from beyond the arc. Anwil held the lead for almost 35 minutes, but eventually fell to 0-2.
The game started with a flurry of three-pointers. Jahovic drilled one and then Marquis and Pluta traded baskets from beyond the arc. Pluta was the main factor for Anwil in the opening quarter, as Strasbourg had a lot of trouble on defense. He added two more bombs from a downtown in the period and drew numerous fouls. Anwil went up 20-12 following Kurtz's layup after seven minutes of action. Strasbourg forced the game inside and almost came back early in the second quarter. The visitors used tough defense, which caused Anwil to make mistakes. Dirk Madrich became more active, throwing down a power dunk and adding a free throw on the next possession to make it 21-19. The hosts re-established their rhythm back as Pluta and Zbigniew Bialek both made triples to put Anwil up 36-26. Strasbourg couldn't find an answer for Pluta, nor could it match him with a scorer of its own as Anwil held a 40-33 lead at the half.
Strasbourg started the second half with a Sanders lay-up and a strong desire to come back, but Jahovics kept Anwil in control. Pluta was still tough to stop and following Kurtz's triple, it was still 52-45. But then Strasbourg took control. It used a 0-7 run to equal the score. Madrich helped Sanders, who ruled inside, with his jumpers from outside. Anwil escaped once again, but Strasbourg was still just one shot behind. Dickel and Michael Smith traded triples to end the period with the scoreboard showing 60-57. Both teams struggled to score early in the last quarter. Eidson continued his domination on the glass and the visitors finally found a way to stop Pluta, but Anwil was still ahead. Finally Wiktor Grudzinski drilled a triple to make it 63-57, but Strasbourg's defense was getting tougher with every minute. Afik Nissim helped from the bench with back-to-back jumpers that brought his side within 2 before Sanders tied the score at 65-65 midway through the period. Marquis pushed Strasbourg ahead on the next possession for the first time. Kurtz snapped Strasbourg's run and made a lay-up for a 67-67 tie, but Strasbourg was in control. A 0-7 run put the game out of reach. Grudzinski gave Anwil some hope with his second triple of the evening, but it wasn't enough as McCord and Cooper kept the lead intact as Strasbourg grabbed a 76-85 victory.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006