Zalgiris mandhandles ASVEL at home 6
Zalgiris Kaunas used bruising defense to manhandle visiting ASVEL Villeurbanne for a 85-67 victory on Thursday to sweep the double-round week.
Its second-biggest victory this season after a month away from home pushed Zalgiris to a 15-13 record.
ASVEL was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention as its record fell to 8-20 despite Nando De Colo reaching a milestone.
Ignas Brazdeikis led Zalgiris with 19 points. Isaiah Taylor added 15, while Achille Polonara added 11 and 6 rebounds. All three players came off the bench.
Jonah Matthew paced ASVEL with 18 points while Youssoupha Fall and Dee Bost had 10 each. De Colo added 9 and with his last 2, on a fourth-quarter layup, passed Juan Carlos Navarro to become the competition’s second-best scorer ever, with 4,154 career points.
De Colo and Charles Kahudi scored 5 points each as ASVEL took over in the early going to lead by as much as 5-14 before Brazdeikis hit Zalgiris’ first three-pointer to begin the comeback. ASVEL still retained a 16-22 advantage after 10 minutes, but Polonara and Taylor came off the Zalgiris bench to fill a 7-0 run that soon put the hosts in front 36-32. Taylor kept it going with a feed to Laurynas Birutis for a slam dunk and his own triple to make it 41-32. Brazdeikis converted a three-point play with 2.2 seconds left for the first double-digit lead, 47-37, at halftime.
The Zalgiris defense gave no quarter after the break as the lead climbed to 55-40 on free throws from Edgaras Ulanovas and Rolands Smits. ASVEL could find little in the way of shooting room as the difference soon swelled to 65-48 on four points in a row by Lukas Lekavicius and settled at 65-50 after 30 minutes.
Ulanovas and Polonara hit back-to-back three-pointers for a new high lead of 71-52 early in the final quarter. Mathews kept it from getting bigger for a while but the last highlight for ASVEL was De Colo’s milestone-breaking layup with 3:37 left to make it 77-62. Tomas Dimsa and Brazdeikis responded with triples and the sold-out Zalgiris crowd of almost 15,000 fans was dancing in the aisles the rest of the way.