Lukoil Academic has a pleasant return to the Eurocup after a two-year absence by edging Telenet Oostende 65-66 in Belgium on Tuesday. Lukoil became the first team to register a road win in Group D and faces back-to-back home games against Asvel Basket and Valencia Basket in the upcoming two weeks. Lamont Mack paced the winners with 20 points and hit the go-ahead free throw with 3 seconds to go. Brandon Heath added 15 while Todor Stoykov had 11 for Lukoil. Jason Rich led Oostende with 17 points. Dusan Sakota added 16 while Chris Booker had 11 and 9 rebounds for the hosts. A 10-2 run that Dusan Katnic capped with free throws allowed Oostende to get a 28-20 lead late in the first half. A three-pointer by Rich boosted the hosts' lead to a game-high 48-36 right after the break. Damjan Stojanovski, Mack and Stoykov fueled the guests' comeback and a three-pointer by Bruno Sundov gave Lukoil a 58-60 edge. Stoykov followed a triple with free throws for a 60-65 score. Dusan Djordjevic managed to tie the game, 65-65, with 22 seconds left but Mack drew a foul and hit his first attempt to give Lukoil a very important road win.
Dragisa Drobnjak got Oostende going with a layup and Rich bettered Tencho Banev's basket with a three-point play for a 5-2 lead. Mack answered from downtown and a layup by Andre Owens gave Lukoil its first lead, 5-7. Mack capped a 0-7 run with free throws but a layup by Rich kept the hosts within 7-9. Heath sank foul shots and Stoykov added a jumper but Booker struck from downtown for a 10-13 Oostende deficit. Banev scored again and Mack split free throws but Booker and Sakota shined late in the first quarter to tie the game, 16-16, after 10 minutes. Sakota capped an 8-0 run with a layup but free throws by Owens tied the game again, 18-18. Oostende improved its defense in the second quarter and three-pointers by Quentin Serron and a red hot Sakota made the hosts regain a 24-20 margin. Booker scored down low and free throws by Katnic made it an eight-point game, 28-20, as Oostende was all over the place in defense. Mack and Heath stepped up for Lukoil late in the first half but a layup by Rich fixed the halftime score at 32-26.
Veselin Petrovic struck from downtown right after the break and Rich copied him right after that to give Oostende a 38-26 margin. Mack buried a three-pointer but Djordjevic and Stoykov traded easy baskets. Stoykov kept pacing Lukoil with free throws but a jumper by Rich restored a 43-33 Oostende margin. Stojanovski had 5 points in an 0-8 run that Mack capped with his own shot from downtown to get the guests within 43-41. Sakota scored again but Stojanovski and Heath tied it at 45-45. Booker hit free throws and added a layup to put Oostende back ahead, 49-47, after 30 minutes. Sakota nailed a triple early in the fourth quarter but Heath and Mack fueled a 0-6 Lukoil run that put the guests back ahead, 52-53, with 6 minutes left. Rich hit a jumper but Mack and Djordjevic traded free throws for a 56-55 score. Sundov silenced the crowd with a critical triple and free throws by Stoykov gave Lukoil a 58-60 edge. Sakota hit a jumper but Stoykov answered from downtown and free throws by Heath made it a five-point game, 60-65. Just when the outcome seemed to be sealed, Djordjevic followed a jumper with a three-pointer for a 65-65 tie with 22 seconds left. Heath drew a foul with 2 seconds to go and split free throws, as Djordjevic missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011