01 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
12 Will Cummings (USA)
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Play-Off Qualifiers report: Aris dominate first leg against SIG Strasbourg

THESSALONIKI (Basketball Champions League) - Aris had an emphatic start to the Play-Off qualifiers with a 71-52 over SIG Strasbourg in the opening leg of their post-season match-up on Tuesday evening in Greece.

Will Cummings was Aris' top performer with 21 points and 5 assists, but it was on the defensive end the Greek side made their mark, registering 16 steals as Strasbourg finished with 26 turnovers.

Aris now have a significant advantage heading into the second leg, which will be played on February 21 in Strasbourg, with the home side now needing a 20+ point victory to advance to the Round of 16 and take on ASVEL.

It was Aris who brought the intensity from the opening tip, pressuring and harassing Strasbourg as they had no possessions off, including a stretch of six minutes in the first quarter holding the French team to just two points.

As Aris continued to get to the line, Strasbourg found their rhythm to pour in 20 points in the second period.

A ten point lead at halftime had Strasbourg still in the game, but Aris turned it on in the third period, extending their lead to 19 in the quarter using traps and pressing all over the court.

The fourth quarter became a mere formality as Aris cruised on their way to victory in front of a raucous home crowd.

Jankovic joined Cummings in double figures with 13, whilst Justin Jackson had 9 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals without missing a field goal for Aris.

"Tonight's game was a good game," Jackson said. "We followed the game plan and just came out playing Aris basketball and came out with the 'W'."

Aris Head Coach Dimitris Priftis had mixed feelings about the win and does not expect the return leg to be easy.

"Today we came out, we played hard and we hustled for every possession," he commented.

"We had a good attitude that is expressed from our defensive desire and effort. I still don't believe we played good offensively.

"We finally had one good (points) difference, but I don't know if it's enough, as far as the points, because for sure we expect a different game in France. Strasbourg play a high tempo game and at home we execute with confidence so it will be a very difficult game for us there."

Lacombe was the go-to player all night for Strasbourg, finishing with 16 points, but had 9 turnovers and received little help as the only player in double figures for the French side.

"Congrats to them," Lacombe said.

"They came ready to make a war tonight, we were not ready and it is for that we disappear from the beginning. At the end of the day we are only (down) 19 points." 

And he remains optimistic about their chances of overturning the deficit in the second leg.

"(We need) The fighting spirit, we need to do it the next game to go harder on them. To do the same things they did tonight, there is some hope because we have another game to play at home, why not? We've seen teams in the past do it."