The quarter-final spots will be decided in the continent’s third tier club competition as the FIBA Europe Cup Eighthfinals get completed this week. The ties are moving into the second/deciding legs and the week’s action got underway with Port of Antwerp Giants defeating ASVEL Lyon at home to progress to the last eight of the FIBA Europe Cup.
Port of Antwerp Giants vs. ASVEL Lyon, 88-78 (162-145)
Antwerp Giants was protecting a 7 point cushion after defeating Lyon 67-74 on the road last week to set up a home charge for the quarter-finals. The hosts finally pegged the French visitors back in leg two to extend to victory over an ASVEL team that simply run out of steam. However, Antwerp left it late with a glitzy fourth quarter, breaking Lyon hearts after the guests had led for much of the contest.
The first quarter was high octane, with ASVEL edging the ten minutes 19-23, before extending in the second stanza with a 19-21 run that made it 38-44 through halftime. The third act seemed to be pivotal as Lyon took the frame 21-28 to lead 59-72 through thirty minutes, a score that put the French team ahead on aggregate, 126-146. The contest looked over, but fans in Antwerp were treated to the most remarkable fourth quarter as stars aligned, the Giants surged and Lyon collapsed. A massive 29 points in the fourth and the French only hitting 6 points turned the game on its head, giving the hosts the celebrations on the hardwood.
Yoeri Schoepen only lasted 14:05 minutes on the court before sitting down after being fouled out, but he made those minutes count. He scored 11 straight points in Antwerp’s 32-5 game winning run, finishing on 14 points overall.
Livio Jean-Charles led a devastated Lyon outfit with 12 points and 6 rebounds. It was amazing how nervous the visitors got in the cauldron of the fourth quarter, during the deciding run ASVEL gave the ball away 15 times to give Antwerp plenty of time at the bucket.