Play-Off Qualifiers report: EWE Baskets hold on against Avtodor Saratov
OLDENBURG (Basketball Champions League) - EWE Baskets held on for a 98-89 win over Avtodor Saratov, for a six point victory on aggregate, to advance to the Round of 16 on Tuesday night.
Oldenburg controlled the opening three quarters and appeared to be on their way to a comfortable victory before a last gasp fourth quarter rally from the highest scoring team in the Basketball Champions League.
Plagued by poor free throw shooting, EWE Baskets saw Saratov get within four on aggregate in the final moments before holding on for the victory, as a Josh Adams turnover with 27 seconds remaining sealed Saratov's fate.
Brian Qvale was dominant throughout, receiving early touches inside to set the tone, as he finished with 34 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists on an incredible 16 of 18 shooting.
"I think that we did a really good job," Qvale said after the contest.
"Travelling to Russia (for the first leg), on one of the longest trips I've ever taken as a player, we lost by 3 but we stayed close and we came back here and did what we had to to get a victory I'm proud of the team and I'm proud of the way we played.
"I got into a good rhythm, a good feeling, at the beginning of the game. Got off to a good start, and then the team kept looking to throw the ball inside and if i saw someone open i was able to pass and if not I was able to attack. I just did the best I can to help us win."
If it wasn't for the final quarter, Oldenburg executed their game plan brilliantly. Rickey Paulding had 16 and Chris Kramer 14, 7 rebounds and 10 assists to flirt with a triple double for EWE Baskets as they set up a Round of 16 match-up with Turkish side Banvit.
Nick Minnerath had 21 points and 8 rebounds for Saratov, with Bykov adding 19 and 8 assists as the away team had five players reach double figures.
A disappointed Evgenii Kolesnikov commented:
"We lost the game in the first half because we lost concentration and gave them confidence, especially number 41 (Qvale). They got confidence because of their scoring inside. Second half we got better, changed our defence but it wasn't enough for the win."