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Herbalife Gran Canaria overtakes Strasbourg in Group H

Herbalife Gran Canaria took over the driver’s seat in the Eurocup Group H by handing Strasbourg its first loss of the Last 32 with a 68-79 win on the road.

DJ Steeley led the way for Gran Canaria with 16 points, while Sasu Salin and Pablo Aguilar both had 15 points, Eulis Baez scored 10 points and Albert Oliver added 9 points and 8 assists. Both teams are 4-1 in the group, but Gran Canaria holds the tiebreaker after making up for a 76-85 defeat at home against Strasbourg in Round 1. Gran Canaria will finish first in the group with a home win over Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem next week or a loss by Strasbourg at Avtodor Saratov. Strasbourg dropped its first game despite Jeremy Leloup scoring 20 points while Rod Beaubois had 12 points, Kyle Weems chipped in 10 points and Matt Howard collected 8 points and 10 rebounds.

Louis Campbell got the hosts on the board first with Baez scoring for Gran Canaria, which took its first lead 2-4 on Anzejs Pasecniks’s basket. Beaubois’s three put Strasbourg back in front, but Baez answered with 4 points as a back-and-forth phase ensued. There were six lead changes and two ties when Sitapha Savane made it 16-18 for Gran Canaria. Howard temporarily tied it again, but Seeley scored 7 straight points to put the visitors up 18-25. Leloup knocked down a triple to make it 21-25 after 10 minutes. A Weems three made it a 1-point game, but Aguilar and Seeley both hit three-pointers as the advantage grew to 24-33. Gran Canaria was held scoreless for almost five minutes and Leloup tallied 6 points as Strasbourg came within 30-33. Kevin Pangos’s free throws snapped the drought and Strasbourg could not get closer than 3 points the rest of the first half, which ended with Gran Canaria ahead 36-40.

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Strasbourg held the guests scoreless for the first four minutes of the second half, but could only muster baskets from Mardy Collins and Leloup to even the game 40-40. Brad Newley’s free throw finally got Gran Canaria going and Salin nailed a three-pointer in helping make it a 40-47 lead. Beaubois was on target again from long range and Paul Lacombe’s foul shots made it a 2-point game. But Salin again hit a big three-pointer and Aguilar’s triple had the guests up 49-57. Strasbourg closed the gap to 51-57 after 30 minutes. Gran Canaria once again was slow coming out of the gates in the fourth quarter with just a single basket in the first three minutes, while Lacombe trimmed the deficit to 58-59. Aguilar answered with a three and his next basket had the guests up 58-66 with less than six minutes to play. It was 62-68 when Oliver hit from downtown with Salin following on the next possession and Oliver’s triple the next time down had Gran Canaria up 66-77 with 2:36 minutes remaining. Strasbourg failed to score on its next two possessions and Beaubois’s basket to make it 68-77 with 1:22 left was too little, too late for the hosts. Baez converted at the other end for Gran Canaria in what was not only the final basket of the game, but what could end up giving his team first place in the group.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016