BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Strasbourg head coach Vincent Collet was all smiles after the win over league rivals BCM|
When the draw decided that BCM Gravelines Dunkerque should take on Strasbourg IG in the Last 32 of the Coupe de France, it was inevitable that one of the two French league leaders would have to bow out at such an early stage.
BCM had the advantage of playing the big game at home, on Tuesday night, but they looked nowhere near as sharp as the occasion of this 'premature cup final', as French media had branded it, demanded.
In one of their poorest displays this season, the hosts gave up 31 points to Strasbourg in the first quarter and were already down by 13 at the end of the period.
BCM did not manage to reduce the gap in the second quarter and effectively the encounter slipped out of their hands entirely in the third, when Strasbourg expanded their lead to 21 points, 70-49.
Vincent Collet's side cruised to a much more comfortable than anyone had predicted 87-75 triumph and might have gained a psychological edge over BCM in the battle for the top of the Pro A standings in the process.
"BCM were not ready at all, they didn't treat this game as a final, but we did," the Strasbourg and French national team coach explained.
The stat lines of BCM's go-to players are indicative of their failure to challenge for the win on Tuesday.
Their leading scorer Dwight Buycks finished with 10 points, Juan Edwards had nine, Ludovic Vaty had four, and captain Cyril Akpomedah featured only for 10 minutes and did not write his name on the scoresheet.
Paris Levallois on the other hand had many reasons to celebrate on Tuesday night after their 85-78
|Jawad Williams continues to shine for Paris Levallois, this time around with a 2-point display |
victory at Le Havre, apart from the apparent one of qualifying to the Last 16 of the domestic cup.
The Parisians started the away clash visibly affected from the recent string of bad results, but they returned from the locker room after the half-time interval with renewed confidence and quickly overturned a four-point disadvantage.
The visitors took a nine-point lead at the end of the third quarter and held on to it until the final buzzer to clinch a morale-boosting victory.
Jawad Williams led all scorers for the fourth consecutive encounter in the last two weeks, with 23 points, and this time he had plenty of support.
Center Sean May, the most consistent player for Paris throughout the first half of the season in all competitions, looked to have overcome a recent drop in form and contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Both BCM and Paris are in action at the weekend in the Pro A before they resume their EuroChallenge Last 16 campaign next Tuesday.