Telindus Oostende 91 Azovmash Mariupol 94

13 January 2004

It was a very important game for both teams with the better end for Azovmash, who now have big chances to gain the second spot in Group A of this year’s FIBA Europe League. The Ukrainians won against Telindus in a very close game 91-94.

You could feel the tension on the court from the very beginning and both teams committed many turnovers (15 for Oostende against 11 for Mariupol) in the first half. After a difficult start Tony Dorsey, Christophe Beghin and Quinton Ross pushed Oostende to a 26-19 lead in the at the beginning of the second quarter.

But the Ukrainian guests, in particular Tephen Hamilton and Lorinza Harrington, took advantage of the many Belgian turnovers to cut down Oostende's lead at half time to 46-43. At that time both teams had an amazing scoring percentage from the field - 66% for Oostende and 65% for Mariupol.

All the effort was in vain: Matthias Desaever and his team lost to Azovmash
At the begining of the second half Oostende seemed to have found its rhythm and went on a run, which brought them to a 56-45 lead. At this time Coach Podkovyrov decided to keep his Americans on the bench and went into a zone defense which his other players were used to playing together.

Two facts now helped Azovmash: Firstly, Oostende was very poor from behind the arc (1/16 in the second half). Secondly, Leonid Yaylo was very strong, scoring all of his 15 points in the second half. This resulted in a 29-12 run helping Azovmash to turn the game completely. At the end of the third quarter the guests led by six points (68-74).

With a huge effort from Ross Oostende was able to tie the game once again at 84-84 but couldn’t get any further. From then on the game went from free-throw-line to the other. A couple of seconds from the end Oostende made the decision to go for the victory, deliberately missing one free throw. But this attempt wasn’t successful and Azovmash not only took the victory but also got a positive balance after the first round home defeat by two points. With this win the visitors greatly increased their chances of staying in the second position of this group, which would guarantee home-court advantage in the next round.

Game-MVP: Andriy Botichev

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