Kuwait Club still unbeaten, a win away from Gulf League crown after surviving Manama
KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait) - Kuwait Club moved a win away from clinching the WASL-Gulf title via sweep but not before overcoming the tough test of Manama, 87-78, Tuesday night at the Shaikh Saad Alabdullah Sport Hall Complex.
Cady Lalanne came through with a clutch bucket underneath with 54.1 seconds left, before Marcus Georges-Hunt and Jacob Pullen applied the finishing touches through perfect trips to the foul line to douse cold water to the opposition's fiery rally, which saw them get to within just two points, 79-77, after being down by as many as 15 points multiple times during the third quarter.
They're now 9-0 overall by taking the best-of-3 Final opener at home, and could close it out in Game 2 on Monday, 15 May, at the BBA Arena in Manama.
Game heroes: Lalanne led Kuwait Club with 25 points -- spiked by a season-high 3 triples -- alongside 12 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks in 35 minutes of play on the way to earning STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors.
Hamad Hasan had his own double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Pullen, meanwhile, made 16 points in 18 minutes off the bench.
Mohammad Hasan made 11 points and 7 rebounds, while Georges-Hunt added 10 and 9 as a total of five players scored in double figures in the win.
Turning point: It wasn't solely Lalanne's layup -- a cleanup of Turki Alshemmari's missed trey -- that killed Manama's momentum but his effort as well on the other end, disrupting Lamont Jones' attempt off a drive shortly after his own make.
Hamad would secure the loose ball and Kuwait Club would milk the clock, leaving Elijah Robinson with no choice but to foul Georges-Hunt. The latter would sink his freebies and the game began to slip away from the Bahraini side.
Stats don't lie: Kuwait Club shot the ball much better, making 46-percent while their counterparts only made 34-percent. They did better, too, in taking advantage of turnovers by scoring 10 off Manama's 10 TOs.
They said: "It's not easy when you're up the whole game and the other team is like, we have nothing to lose, and then you start making a couple of mistakes ... It can happen. But like I said, they couldn't get over the hump. They couldn't connect. And we hit the important baskets, and had the important stops." - Peter Schomers, Head Coach, Kuwait Club
"They just played hard and towards the end of the game, made some shots. But like Coach said, 'Play defense.' That's what really helped us win the game. That's what we've been talking about all week, playing defense. We know we can score the ball. We lead the league in scoring. But defense is just something that we gotta lock in on. Towards the end that's where we locked in on. Stayed poised, got some stops to help us win the game." - Cody Lalanne, Kuwait Club