Amazing comeback propels Strasbourg to maiden win
STRASBOURG (Basketball Champions League) – SIG Strasbourg trailed Oostende Telenet by 19 points, 44-25, early in the third quarter but delivered an epic effort down the stretch to climb back and clinch a 74-64 win, their first in three games in Group D.
The French team are now 2-0 in the Pro A league and the Basketball Champions League since coach Vincent Collet returned at the helm last week, while Oostende slide to 0-3 in the Group D standings.
Matt Howard, who returned to action on Tuesday following an injury capped off a 9-0 run for Strasbourg with 7:54 remaining in the third period. Oostende stopped the rot with a three-pointer by Jean Salumu but AJ Slaugther drilled a triple of his own to spark an 11-0 run for the French hosts who reduced the gap to 47-45, with 5:37 remaining to the third buzzer. Youngster Frank Ntilikina hit the go-ahead trey 1:34 from the end of the period for Strasbourg to claim a 56-53 lead and the hosts never abolished the driver's seat after that.
"The second quarter was really tough for us, our defence kind of let down and our shots did not drop," explained Slaughter afterwards. "In the second half we changed our spirit, we came out wanting to play aggressive defence and that led to some easy baskets. Paul Lecombe played really well, he gave us some energy and we followed his lead to pull of the comeback. This is a game that we will look back on and see what we are able to do as a team."
While Oostende committed only four turnovers more than their hosts, 18 to 14, Strasbourg knew how to punish them severely and scored 23 points off them, which proved the vital key to their comeback. Erving Walker paced Strasbourg with 17 points, Slaughter finished with 15 points and added four assists while Paul Lacombe chipped in with 14 points on 2-of-3 from downtown.