|05 February 2014|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Anton Ponkrashov paved the way for Samara with 32 points|
Anton Ponkrashov scored 12 of his VTB league career-high 32 points in the final frame on Tuesday to propel Krasnye Krylia to an 83-78 comeback victory at home over Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd.
The Samara side got off to a good start and led 23-16 at the end of the first quarter and 46-40 at half-time.
Krasnye Krylia however went through an almost six-minute long dry spell late in the third and found themselves trailing 70-61 midway through the final period.
Ponkrashov decided it was time to step up.
The Russian international poured in seven quick-fire points to instigate an amazing 10-0 Samara run in the space of just 90 seconds, which enabled the hosts to jump to a 71-70 lead with 5:11 left on the clock.
Krasny Oktyabr reclaimed the lead momentarily from the foul line but Filip Videnov replied with a triple, Oleksiy Pecherov came up with a huge block on the defensive end and Aaron Miles gave Krasnye Krylia a four-point cushion, 76-72, which they held on to until the final buzzer.
Ponkrashov, who was 12-of-19 from the floor including 3-of-4 triples, added four rebounds, four assists and two steals to his career-high 32 points, and Demetris Nichols chipped in with 13 points in Samara's win.
The other two Krasnye Krylia players to score in double digits were Miles, who finished with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds and eight assists, and new signing Larry O'Bannon who made a very promising debut, collecting 12 points and six rebounds.
"Today's game had a lot of significance with regards to making the play-offs," Krasnye Krylia head coach Sergey Bazarevich asserted.
"I'm happy that we didn't fold mentally and stayed strong after a poor third quarter.
"We have a new team and we want to understand what our players are capable of, how to guide them and what to do in crunch time.
"It's nice that we have players on the bench that can do a good job of subbing for their team-mates.
"I didn't risk playing [Artem] Zabelin yet, even though he's looked pretty good in recent practices.
"Anton Ponkrashov really helped the team and felt very confident during the game."
Tuesday's win over a direct rival for a spot in the VTB league play-offs was of enormous importance to the reigning EuroChallenge champions as they have now improved to 6-7 in the Group B standings, while Krasny Oktyabr dropped to 4-9.
|Torey Thomas chipped in 12 points for Cholet|
CHOLET HALT LEADERS' CHARGE
Orleans arrived in Cholet on Tuesday night determined to extend their winning streak to four games and take solitary possession of first place in the French Pro A standings for the first time this season.
Few would expect Cholet, who had only one win in their last seven games across Pro A and EuroChallenge, to poise much of a problem to the aspiring league leaders.
The two teams reached the half-time break tied at 37 and Cholet claimed a slim lead, 57-55, at the end of the third.
On several occasions this season, Cholet collapsed in the clutch and often let slip a lead in the final minutes, to end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
This however was not going to be the case on Tuesday, as spurred on by an enthusiastic home crowd and an inspiring display by John Cox in the clutch, the hosts outscored Orleans 22-14 in the fourth frame and clinched a much-celebrated 78-69 win.
Cox paved the way for the winners with a game-high 18 points, four rebounds and three assists, while the two latest additions to the Cholet roster, point guards Torey Thomas and Anthony Goods, finished with 12 points each, with the former also collecting a team-high seven rebounds.
Cholet have improved to 7-11 in the standings and are now tied with Gravelines-Dunkerque in 12th place, while Orleans, together with fellow EuroChallenge club JDA Dijon, are among the five teams who stand at 12-6 at the top of the table.