Sotto per 40 minuti, la SikeliArchivi non trova quasi mai la chiave giusta per affrontare i campioni di Francia dell’Elan Chalon, nuovamente corsari in Basketball Champions League e alla quinta vittoria stagionale nella competizione europea.
Inizio subito difficile, con uno 0-8 e un time-out immediato per coach Gennaro Di Carlo, che ha visto la sua squadra inseguire per tutta la durata della gara. Il -10 di fine primo quarto è spiegato dalla mira, in gran parte (4/14 dal campo per gli orlandini, 4/7 da fuori per i francesi che partono bene anche a rimbalzo d’attacco), e la prima vera reazione paladina arriva dopo il -14 (tripla di Gillet, 13-27 al 12′). Ci sono 7 punti consecutivi di Kuba Wojciechowski, un fantastico impatto di Andrea Donda (5 punti, 1 rimbalzo e 1 assist in 7 minuti) e due triple di Engin Atsur permettono alla SikeliArchivi di riaprire completamente la gara (35-38 a metà partita).
L’approccio, pero’, è nuovamente sbagliato in avvio di terzo quarto: 0-7 chiuso dalla tripla di Jeremy Nzeulie e inseguimento che riparte dal -10. La difesa orlandina riesce a creare le condizioni per la rimonta (42-45 con il tiro libero di Arnoldas Kulboka dopo un fallo tecnico a Arthur Rozenfeld), ma i possessi decisivi, quelli che possono davvero cambiare l’inerzia del match, sono tutti favorevoli agli ospiti.
Capo d’Orlando tiene fino a 6 minuti dalla fine (61-67, Mario Ihring a segno su rimbalzo d’attacco), poi non trova le risorse (e la mira, 11/36 da fuori) per completare il lavoro. Chalon è più lucida nei momenti cruciali e porta a casa la partita, conquistando una vittoria chiave in ottica qualificazione.
Si chiude così il 2017 “casalingo” dell’Orlandina, che ora preparerà la sfida del 27 dicembre in casa della Sidigas Avellino. Si tornerà al PalaSikeliArchivi il 2 gennaio, quando arriveranno i campioni d’Italia dell’Umana Reyer Venezia.
SikeliArchivi Capo d’Orlando – Elan Chalon 69-79 (10-20, 47-21, 52-59)
SikeliArchivi Capo d’Orlando: Galipò ne, Alibegovic 16 (5/10 da 3, 1/2 tl), Maynor (0/1, 0/3), Ihring 4 (1/2, 0/3, 2/2 tl), Atsur 8 (1/1, 2/4), Kulboka 8 (1/3, 1/6, 3/3 tl), Laganà ne, Delas 6 (2/3, 2/3 tl), Wojciechowski 15 (6/12, 1/5), Ikovlev 7 (1/4, 1/4, 2/2 tl), Donda 5 (1/1, 1/1, 1 r). All: Di Carlo
Elan Chalon: Harris 12 (3/4, 2/6), Rozenfeld 4 (0/2, 0/2, 4/4 tl), N’zeulie 23 (6/8, 3/4, 2/2 tl), Dorsey 4 (2/10, 0/4, 0/2 tl), Gillet 6 (2/3 da 3), Camara 10 (5/7), Farr 14 (4/7, 2/3), Niasse ne, Shepherd 4 (2/4, 0/1), Gelabale 2 (1/1, 0/2). All: Choulet
 
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N’zeulie explodes for 20 in second half as Elan Chalon sweep Capo d’Orlando (Source Basketball Champions League)
CAPO D’ORLANDO (Basketball Champions League) – Elan Chalon’s Jeremy N’zeulie poured in 20 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to lead the French club to its third straight victory in the Basketball Champions League with a 79-69 triumph at Capo d’Orlando.
In beating the Italian outfit for the second time this season, Jean-Denys Choulet’s team improved to 5-4 and leapfrogged Ventspils into fourth place in Group B. They led from start to finish.
“Lately we’ve been getting better,” team captain N’zeulie said. “The past few games we played way better. We played as a team. That’s not what we were doing at the beginning of the season. We changed a couple of players and now we’re getting some chemistry.”
Elan Chalon opened up a 14-point lead in the first half, only for the hosts to claw their way back and go to half-time trailing 38-35.
N’zeulie, whose only 3 points in the first half came with a game-opening shot from the arc, started the third quarter with a drive and then hit his second 3-pointer before scoring on yet another drive for a 45-35 advantage.
After Capo d’Orlando coach Gennaro Di Carlo called timeout, his team then got a 3-ball from Mirza Alibegovic to start a 7-0 run.
Pierre Antoine Gillet grabbed an offensive rebound for Elan Chalon, though, and passed to James Farr on the perimeter and the big man drilled a 3-pointer.
Farr, who had 14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a couple of blocks, then rebounded an N’zeulie miss and scored to take the lead back to 10.
Elan Chalon had a comfortable lead the rest of the way with N’zeulie continuing to provide points.
“In the first half,” N’zeulie said, “we let them come back in the second quarter but we did a good job in the third and fourth quarter to keep an advantage to win this game.” Winning coach Choulet wore a satisfied look after the contest. “We had a game when were up for almost the whole time,” he said. “They came back but we didn’t lose our head. We kept on playing. We made some mistakes but it was a team win. We played pretty good defense the first half, especially the first quarter when we started the game, it was good for us, especially on the road.”
Elan Chalon will be at home to Ventspils next week. “We’ve still got work to do but the attitude was good tonight,” Choulet said. “It’s a good move for us to try and to qualify for the next round.”
With the loss, Capo d’Orlando saw their bid to win for a third time in the last four games come up short. The Sicilian club dropped to 2-7 in Group B.