|06 November 2007|
Spartak St. Petersburg advanced to the Elimination Round 2 of the EuroCup by holding off BC Odessa 88-86 for a 12-point aggregate victory.
Joseph Smith scored 23 points and Milovan Rakovic added 19 for the Russians, who move onto a November 20 first leg matchup with Greek side Maroussi.
Antonio Porta chipped in 12 points and nine assists for Oleg Okulov's team, who are making their first trip to Europe in six years - since the Korac Cup.
|Eddy Mayfield had 33 points for BC Odessa in the loss.|
Odessa bowed out despite 33 points by Eddy Mayfield.
Oleksii Poltoratskyi and Oleg Yushkin each contributed 13, but the Ukrainians struggled with their ball-handling as they were trying to make up a 10-point deficit from the first game in Russia.
Spartak pulled ahead 12-6 early only to see the Ukrainians ride the hot hand of Mayfield, who drained back-to-back three-pointers in scoring 18 points in the first quarter in giving Odessa a 22-21 advantage after one period.
Then it started to get very interesting for all parties concerned.
Consecutive shots from behind the arc by Yushkin and Yevgen Tkachenko pushed the Odessa lead to 39-29 midway through the second quarter, leaving the teams even on aggregate.
But five Odessa turnovers allowed St Petersburg back into the game, with Rafael Araujo's late jumper cutting the deficit to 43-40 at the break.
Smith opened the second half with eight straight points, including two shots from three-point range, for a 48-45 Spartak lead.
Odessa pulled back ahead 49-48 on another basket by Mayfield, only to commit six turnovers to help Spartak put together a 13-0 run over a six-minute stretch for a 61-49 lead.
Poltoratskyi's late three-pointer cut the deficit to 61-53 going into the fourth.
Another Poltoratskyi three-ball trimmed Dnipro's lead to 64-58. But Smith came up with big shots to push the gap to 72-60 and then to 13 points, 76-63. And it was still an 83-71 Spartak lead after Smith knocked down a three-pointer with 2:30 left.
Spartak then took their foot off the gas and the Ukrainians made things close in the game as Gennadiy Kuznetsov converted a three-point play and Denis Ikovlev and Mayfield each drained back-to-back shots from long range for a 9-2 run to trail 85-80 with 1:30 to go.
By this time, though, Russians were too far ahead on aggregate and were already thinking about their date with Maroussi, a team that reached the EuroCup final in 2004.