|Lee Cummard paced an injury-depleted Okapi Aalstar with 23 points|
Okapi Aalstar shrugged off missing two top players to collect a 70-63 victory at GasTerra Flames Groningen to remain in the running for the Last 16.
Playing without Derek Raivio and Travis Releford, Lee Cummard paced Aalstar with 23 points while Da'Sean Butler had 11 in helping the Belgians improve to 3-2 in Group E.
Groningen dropped to 1-4 despite 13 points from Ross Bekkering, 12 from Cashmere Wright and 11 from Jason Dourisseau.
Okapi jumped out to an 11-2 lead and the margin extended out to 14-4 and then 20-7 in the first quarter, which ended with the guests up 23-11.
Aalstar increased the margin to 25-11 and Groningen struggled to make a dent, still trailing 35-24 at the intermission.
The Aalstar advantage was 39-26 early in the third quarter when Groningen went on a big 17-3 run to jump ahead 43-42.
After 30 minutes the lead was 47-45.
Cummard and Thomas Dreesen combined for all 13 points in a 13-0 Aalstar run to open a 60-49 lead with 4:11 remaining. Groningen cut it to 60-55 with two minutes left but Okapi scored on five of their final six possessions including six-of-six free throws in the final 44 seconds.
GasTerra Flames Head Coach Ivica Skelin
"In the first half Okapi dominated the game. In the third quarter we changed the rhythm of the game and lost it in the fourth quarter. I think we were just tired because we had to play with a seven-player rotation."
GasTerra Flames Player Jason Dourisseau
"In the final quarter Lee Cummard and Da'Sean Butler hit a couple of tough shots and we couldn't answer."
Okapi Aalstar Head Coach Brad Dean
"We had some issues in the third quarter. We had 11 turnovers, but I am very happy with the way Arne Steinbach picked it up. He is getting better and better with Derek Raivio out with an injury. I'm happy other guys take responsibility now."
Okapi Aalstar player Arne Steinbach
"We started out good, then had a lot of turnovers in the third quarter. In the fourth we stepped up and controlled the game."