Antwerp Giants ended its first-ever ULEB Cup appearance in style by edging Group E champion Triumph Lyubertsy 82-74 in Belgium on Tuesday. The Giants finished fourth in Group E with a 4-6 record while Triumph was already the Group E champion and enters the ULEB Cup elimination rounds draw as a top-seeded team. Brandon Gay led the winners with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Ian Hanavan added 12 points while David Toya had 11 for the Giants. Terrell Lyday had 23 points on 6-for-6 two-pointers and 5 steals for Triumph, that played without Sergei Toporov and Mire Chatman tonight. Ognjen Askrabic added 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting for the guests, that led 11-16 after 10 minute. Kris Sergeant and Yves Dupont fueled a mamooth 23-6 run that gave the Giants their biggest margin, 34-22. Triumph got within 42-36 at halftime while a triple by Lyday put the guests back ahead, 49-50. It all came down the final minutes, as Kristaps Valters brought Triumph within 68-67. Hanavan, Toya and a key triple by Ryan Sears boosted the Giants' margin to 76-67, enough for the Giants to seal the outcome and add a major home win.
Lyday and Askrabic led Triumph to a 3-6 lead early in the game, but the Giants found a go-to guy in Dupont, who scored twice around the basket for a 9-8 lead. Lyday answered from downtown and Askrabic added a couple of baskets to put the guests back ahead, 11-16. Antwerp did not panic, however, as Gay and Hanavan stepped up to tie the game, 20-20, at the end of the first quarter. Dupont stroke from downtown, igniting a 14-2 run in which Sergeant also buried a three-pointer. By the time that Toya and Dupont stepped up with consecutive baskets, the Giants had a 12-point lead at 34-22. Back-to-back three-pointers by Andrei Komarovskiy ignited the guests' comeback, while a put-back basket by Fedor Likholitov and another triple by Lyday made it a four-point game, 38-34. Free throws by Hanavan and Nick Oudendag gave the Giants some air, 42-36, at halftime. Komarovskiy stroke from downtown in a 0-8 Triumph run that Askrabic capped with another basket to make it a one-point game, 45-44, right after the break. Another three-pointer by Lyday allowed Triumph to regain the lead, 49-50, midway through the third quarter. The Giants used a 7-0 run that Gay capped with a basket to regain a 56-50 edge, but Askrabic and Fedor Dmitriev stepped up to provide another lead change, 59-61, after 30 minutes. A three-point play by Toya and free throws by Gay and Aleksander Lichodzijewski put Antwerp back ahead, 67-63, early in the fourth quarter. Lyday and Valters kept Triumph in the game but a put-back basket by Hanavan ignited a 8-0 run that Sears capped with a triple, good for a 76-67 Antwerp edge with less than 2 minutes to go. Antwerp enjoyed a prestigious win to end its first-ever ULEB Cup appearance while Triumph will look for bigger heights in the elimination rounds.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008