Terrific trio combine for 71, Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai escape again with narrow win
DUBAI (United Arab Emirates) - Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai showed poise in crunch time yet again to beat Kazma, 91-86, for their second win in the WASL - Gulf, Monday night at the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall in Dubai.
The home team relied on Brandon Triche, Nick Minnerath, and Omar Alshabebi in the endgame to finish off the pesky visitors once and for all on the way to grabbing the provisional solo lead in Group A of the Gulf League.
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Game heroes: The aforementioned trio combined for 71 points, with Minnerath top-scoring for the team with 25 points and 7 rebounds in 28 minutes.
Twenty of his output came just in the first half alone, where he helped Shabab Al Ahli to a 41-27 lead before the opposition's furious comeback.
Triche produced 24 points and 6 rebounds, while Alshabebi contributed 22 markers on 10-of-16 shooting and also collected 10 boards for a double-double.
Turning point: Shabab Al Ahli were staring at an 82-84 deficit approaching the final 2 minutes, until Triche nailed a cold-blooded trey to take the lead with 1:57 to go.
Minnerath then followed it up just 23 seconds later by ending the transition with a finger roll to make it an 87-84 count, making Kazma pay dearly for the turnover they committed on the other end that led to that fastbreak opportunity.
Alshabebi helped the two out in fending off their foes through a lay-up off a drive with 1:01 left for the eventual final score line, and Shabab Al Ahli turned to their defense all the way to the end to prevent the Kuwaiti squad from coming closer.
Kazma committed a total of 5 turnovers in the game's final 3:27.
As a result, they fell to 0-2 in the standings, wasting as well the gallant effort put up by Rickey Young (26 points), Latavious Williams (18 points and 12 rebounds), and the tandem of Ahmad Albaloushi (15 points) and Abdulaziz Alhamidi (14 points).
Stats don't lie: Kazma actually shot the ball slightly better than Shabab Al Ahli by making 49-percent from the field, but turnovers really hurt the visiting crew. They committed 19, which the hosts turned into 22 points.
And although both squads grabbed the same number of rebounds at 39, Shabab Al Ahli had more offensive boards (11-8), and went on to finish with 18 second-chance points. They also converted 29 fast-break points.