Okapi Snatch Victory From Kotka

20 November 2013
8. Lee Casey Cummard (Okapi Aalstar)
Lee Cummard fueled Okapi Aalstar with 19 points and 6 rebounds in the big road win

Okapi Aalstar recovered from a double-digit first-half deficit to edge out Team TEHO Sport Kotka in a 77-74 thriller in Group E of the EuroChallenge.

The hosts were up 41-29 and cruising just before half-time, but Okapi battled back to take a briefly edge in front in the third quarter before taking the lead for good midway through the fourth.

It was never comfortable, and it was still a one possession game in the final seconds but Lee Cummard's late free throws gave Okapi a cushion before Jukka Matinen and Ryan Ayers missed late three-point attempts for the hosts.

Kotka looked like cruising home after Aleksi Akpaso put them up by 12 with 91 seconds left in the first half, but Okapi replied with a 10-2 run which spanned the half-time interval, and ultimately nosed in front when Cummard's lay-up made it 57-56 with 3:06 left in the third quarter.

That proved short-lived as Kotka regained the edge, but the lead Okapi took on Da'Sean Butler's free throws with 4:40 remaining proved more permanent.

Kotka were still threatening with Joonas Lehtoranta's lay-up making it 75-74 with 21 seconds left, but after Cummard coolly sank two from the line with 17 ticks left, the defence stood up to salt away the victory.

Butler led them to victory with 21 points while Cummard added 19.

Ayers led Kotka with 20 points and 10 rebounds.



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