Fuenlabrada Win Sets Do-Or-Die Battle With Triumph

15.03.2012

EUROCHALLENGE

7. Michael Hall (Fuenlabrada)
Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada forward Michael Hall posted a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds

Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada clinched one of their most impressive road wins of the EuroChallenge campaign on Thursday to set up a deciding Game 3 in their Quarter-Final series with Triumph Lyubertsy.

The Spanish team, which lost 76-75 at home on Tuesday after Quino Colom missed a lay-up at the end, prevailed in Russia less than 48 hours later, 78-68.

Mike Hall had 16 of his 21 points in the first half while Leo Mainoldi came to life after the interval, pouring in 14 of his game-high 23.

Mainoldi, who missed a stretch of this season while hurt, has been on a tear of late.

He had averaged 16 points in his previous three EuroChallenge games.

Hall also led the visitors with 12 rebounds.

The winner of the Tuesday (20 March) clash will advance to the Final Four.

Triumph got a shot in the arm with the return of Sergey Karasev.

The young Russian sharpshooter had missed Game 1 with a cold, but he wasn't under the weather on Thursday.

He had 12 points in the first half.

A 2-0 sweep looked as if it might be on the cards late in the third quarter when a Kyle Landry jumper gave the hosts a 55-48 lead.

Landry, the Quarter-Final Play-offs Game 1 MVP, took his points haul to 13 with that basket but it proved to be his last.

After Javier Vega sank one of two free-throws for Fuenlabrada, Kirk Penny scored on a fast-break to leave the Spanish club trailing only 55-51 going to the last quarter.

Hall started the fourth period with a jump shot and then Mainoldi followed with a three-ball.

Mainoldi scored four of his club's next six points at the free-throw line.

The 12-0 run had Mad-Croc in a great position at 62-55.

Triumph scored to reduce the deficit to five, but Fuenlabrada put the result beyond doubt by reeling off nine unanswered points.

Youngster Evgeny Valiev impressed for Triumph.

A Russia player at the 2010 U20 European Championship, Valiev had a game-high 14 rebounds - nine on the offensive glass - to go with his 11 points.

With Dimitry Kulagin and Karasev also in the Triumph line-up, the club can boast to having three future Russia national team players in the squad.

Fuenlabrada's ability to get to the free-throw line and capitalize, hitting 18 of 23 (78.3%) was a huge factor in this win.

They had converted just 12 of 21 (57.1%) in Game 1.

Triumph were 16 of 25 (64%) at the line in the first game but took only 12 free-throws in Game 2 and made nine (75%).

Karasev finished with 16 points but was just two of 11 from long range.


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