French Leaders Cup: Gravelines-Strasbourg

Unlike most of the rest of Europe, France didn’t play their National Cup last week, they started the Disneyland Paris Leaders Cup LNB 2013 on Friday, Feb. 15. The top eight clubs in the French LNB descended on Disneyland Paris Friday for the quarterfinal round, followed by the semi-finals that were held on Saturday, with the finals to be held on Sunday. In the semi-finals, BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque defeated Le Mans, 70:60, and SIG Strasbourg easily handled Paris Levallois, 77:63.

February 15 (Leaders Cup – 1/4 Finals)
Le Mans – Roanne, 60:43
In the first contest of the Leaders Cup, Le Mans (currently No. 3 in ProA at 12-7) squared off against Roanne (currently No. 8 in ProA at 9-10). The contest was close in the first half, but a strong third quarter by Le Mans proved to be too much for Roanne and they fell, 60:43, sending Le Mans to the semi-finals against Gravelines-Dunkerque.

Le Mans was able to build a small advantage over Roanne in the first quarter and came out of the first 10 up 17:14. The clubs had a difficult time finding the inside of the net in the second frame and only accumulated 19 points between them. Le Mans outscored Roanne 10:9 in the period to stretch their lead to four, 27:23. In the third, Roanne’s scoring troubles not only didn’t get any better, they actually got worse and the club could only manage to tally six points. Le Mans took advantage of their opponents difficulties and extended their margin by 17 with a 14:0 run and outscoring Roanne 23:6, to head into the final 10 up 50:29. Roanne did a bit better in the fourth quarter, even cutting their deficit slightly by holding Le Mans to 10 points, while dropping in 14, to bring the final to 60:43.

Le Mans got 9 points each from Koffi Alain and Victor Cuthbert, eight points from Sy Pape and seven from Kahudi Charles. Roanne was paced by Pape Philippe Amagou’s nine points. Sangare Yohann added seven.

BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque – Lyon-Villeurbanne ASVEL, 78:69
The first semifinal matchup was determine after Gravelines (No. 1 at 14-5) used a 13-point advantage in the first half against Lyon-Villeurbanne (No. 4 at 11-8) and held on to win 78:69. By winning their quarterfinal, Gravelines set up a match up with Le Mans for the first semi-final game on Saturday. The contest also served as a revenge win of sorts for Gravelines as ASVEL defeated them at home earlier in the Pro A season.

BCM earned a substantial early lead over Lyon-Villeurbanne in the first quarter by outscoring them 26:20. Only able to tally 11 in the second quarter, ASVEL fell even further behind as Gravelines dropped in 18 to head into the intermission up 44:31. The gap was reduced to 10 in the third quarter when Lyon-Villeurbanne earned three back with a 17:20 score. The final frame proved to be of little significance to the game as ASVEL could only drop another point from the total, but losing the final quarter 17:18, and putting up the final tally, 78:69.

Ludovic Vaty was game-high with 18 points and 7 rebounds for BCM. Dwight Buycks and Abdoulaye Mbaye contributed 11 each to help the winning cause. Amara Sy led ASVEL with 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Edwin Jackson tallied 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 10 assists.

SIG Strasbourg – Orleans, 87:71
SIG Strasbourg (No. 2, 14-5) and Orleans (No. 7, 9-10) squared off Friday to determine half of the second semifinal on Saturday. The win sets up the second semifinal between Strasbourg and Paris-Levallois.

The first half was an evenly played contest with SIG holding a slim one-point margin, 22:21. In the second Orleans lost additional ground when they lost the quarter 21:18, to finish the second half down 43:39. The third 10 was the turning point of the game as Strasbourg pounded Orleans 31:14 during the stanza. As the ball came back in play in the fourth, Strasbourg held a 74:53 advantage. Orleans was able to cut the margin down by five in the fourth, with a 13:18 fourth quarter tally, to bring the final score to 87:71. The win sent Strasbourg into the semifinals on Saturday, where they met Paris-Levallois.

Ricardo Greer was game-high for Strasbourg with 22 points, 6 rebounds and a PIR of 30. Alexis Ajinca added 20 points and 8 rebounds, while capping the contest with a PIR of 27. Jahmar Young’s 19 points paced Orleans, while Brian Greene added 14 points and 5 rebounds. Chris Hill dropped in 10.

Paris-Levallois – Chalon/Saône, 79:75
Paris-Levallois (No. 6, 11-8) set a date for a show-down with Strasbourg with a 79:75 win over Chalon/Saone. This quarterfinals match wasn’t decided until the final seconds, but when the buzzer went off, PL had secured their place in the semi-finals.

It looked like it was going to be a long night when Paris tallied 20 to Chalon’s 10 in the first quarter. In the second, Chalon picked off three from their deficit to head into the intermission down 40:33. Paris found they had trouble putting up points in the third, only scoring 14 in the third 10, while letting Chalon add 19 to cut their gap to two, 54:52, after three quarters of play. The clubs battled through the fourth quarter, with PL able to hold off the challenge by Chalon to earn a spot in the semi-finals, 79:75.

Sean May was game-high for Paris-Levallois with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Jawad Williams added 14 points, Antoine Diot dropped in 12 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, while Andres Albicy scored 11. Sheldon Williams dropped in 20 points and hauled in 9 rebounds for Chalon/Saone. Blake Schilb ran off 17 points and 9 rebounds, and Marcus Denmon added 14 points.

February 16 (Leaders Cup – 1/2 Finals)
BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque – Le Mans, 70:60
BCM got the advantage that they needed in the first quarter of their semi-final game with Le Mans, putting up 18, while holding Le Mans to 9. The momentum turned in the second frame though, and Gravelines found themselves on the short side of a 20:25 score, while still maintaining a four-point lead at the half, 38:34. BCM added seven to the margin during the third 10 dropping in 20, while only giving up 13. As the final frame started Gravelines was up 11, 58:47. The last quarter was uneventful with Le Mans only able to cut one point off their deficit, sending BCM to the finals against Strasbourg.

Dwight Buycks was game-high with 20 for BCM, and Vaty Ludovic contributed 13 points and 7 rebounds. Joao Paulo Batista led the way for Le Mans with 16 points and 6 rebounds and Khalid El-Amin dropped in 15.

Paris-Levallois – Strasbourg, 63:77
Strasbourg set up a meeting between the top two clubs in the French Pro A by easily getting by Paris Levallois, 63:77.

On their way to the title match with Gravelines, Strasbourg was never behind in their contest with Paris Levallois, getting things started with a 17:25 first quarter and then heading into the locker room at the half up 35:46. Paris’ best effort of the night was playing to a tie score in the third, 14:14, setting up the final 10 with the score reading 49:60. The last frame was more of the first two with Strasbourg outscoring their opponent, 14:17 to wrap up scoring at 63:77.

Louis Campbell was game-high for Strasbourg with 23 points and a PIR of 25. Alexis Ajinca added 15 points to the win. Antoine Diot led the way for Paris with 20 points, and the duo of John Cox and Andrew Albicy dropped in 11 points each.

February 17 (Leaders Cup – Final – 4:00 p.m.)
Gravelines-Dunkerque – Strasbourg

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