Al Riyadi cruise past Barsy Atyrau to reach Semi-Finals
CHENZHOU (FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2016) – Title contender Al Riyadi of Lebanon were in cruise control throughout their convincing win over Kazakhstan’s Barsy Atyrau, 88-69, at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2016 in Chenzhou, China.
Alade Aminu had not had a really big game before today, but he finally made his presence felt in the paint for Al Riyadi. The Nigerian big man also had a lot support as “Lebanese Tiger” Fadi El Khatib dropped 18 points while Dewarwick Spencer, Wael Arakji and Jean Abdel Nour all scored in double-figures. On the other end of the floor, Barsy Atyrau were paced by Pavel Micheev and Mikhail Yevstigneyev, who scored 24 and 16 points respectively.
Turning Point: Al Riyadi led wire to wire in this outing. Coach Slobodan Subotic’s wards were ahead after the first quarter, 31-18, and built on that at the half, ballooning the score to an insurmountable 53-25 spread. The Kazakhs outscored Al Riyadi in the final two periods, but it did not matter at all as the Lebanese just cruised to the key victory.
Stats Don't Lie: Barsy Atyrau’s calling card was scoring in the paint, especially with the frontline pairing of Yevstigneyev and Micheev, but they could not handle Aminu, who was just a man on a mission. Aminu’s strong play around the basket helped Al Riyadi outscore the Kazakhs in the box, 52-40.
Game Hero: Alade Aminu entered this game with relatively underwhelming numbers, averaging 9.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per outing. He did, however, step up against Barsy Atyrau, scoring 16 points on 6-of-10 field goal shooting, hauling down 10 rebounds and blocking 3 shots. This was his first double-double of the tournament, and Al Riyadi certainly hope it won’t be his last.
The Bottom Line: Al Riyadi took care of business against a team that was just happy to make it this far. The Lebanese have areal test tomorrow, though, against the dangerous Al Ahli club from UAE. Spencer, Aminu, El Khatib and Arakji will all need to click if they are to make it to the Final. Barsy, meanwhile, fall to the Classification Games, where they will fight for, at best, fifth place.