Aris took another huge step towards next round of this year’s FIBA Europe League by beating Skonto 98-107. Nevertheless it was a hard fight until the victory was secured.
The first quarter was dominated by the home team, helped along by 800 spectators. In particular, the trio Darren Kelly, Dametri Hill and 17-year old Andris Biedrins helped their team to build a solid 9-point lead after ten minutes.
In the second period both teams balanced each other out. Finally, Nestoras Kommatos started to score and helped Aris to get into the game. On the other side Biedrins showed his skills with some powerful slam-dunks.
In the second half both teams acted more and more nervously and Skonto’s offence became more and more ineffective. On the other hand almost every attack of the Greeks ended with some points. As a result Aris was able to close the gap and even took the lead. After three quarters Aris led by seven points, outscoring their opponents 16-32 in the third period.
Even though Skonto tried almost everything Aris was never in danger of losing their now comfortable lead and brought this important win back home to Greece, winning 98-107 at the final buzzer. Aris moved to 7 wins in 12 games now and increased their chances to qualify for the quarterfinals, now ranked second in this very close Group C.
Game-MVP: Nestoras Kommatos
Guntis Endzels, Head Coach, Skonto Riga:
"We can divide this game in two parts. "Skonto" succeed in the first part, but we lost the second one. It was because of the lack of players. Guys were not that vital in the second half. Opponents had a great opportunity for fast breaks, they shot well."
Charles Barton, Head Coach, Aris BSA Thessaloniki:
"Biedrins is one of the best young players I have seen since I work in Europe. I like his instincts, quickness – he is amazing. You should put him in more dominating position. My team played selfishly. Straupis is a strong guy and both Americans in the team played well, too. I am very happy, that we won here."