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Shane Larkin scored a season-high 32 points to lead a very shorthanded Anadolu Efes to the 97 – 89 win on the road over ALBA Berlin. The Turkish side completes the double-game week with two out of two to move to 7-6.
“It’s next man up mentality,” Larkin, who also had four rebounds, four assists and three steals, said when asked about stepping up in light of Efes‘ numerous absences.
His team is without key players Will Clyburn, Rodrigue Beaubois, Elijah Bryant, Ante Zizic and Tibor Pleiss, among others. “It’s not only me. It’s everybody on the team. We had a lot of big contributors tonight. We had to continue to do that. Overall, it’s a big win for us and a step in the right direction.”
Larkin produced 11 of his points over the last six minutes to help turn a quite close battle into a comfortable victory in the very last minutes. He first scored in the final quarter to put Efes up 76 – 77 with a triple and then added four straight points to give his team an 82 – 89 advantage with 2:19 remaining. ALBA never managed to approach by a shooting distance in the rest of the game.
“We needed to understand that we have to be aggressive offensively and defensively,” Efes coach Erdem Can said. “Everyone on the court fought like crazy. That’s a team win. One thing that we adjusted after giving up 31 points in the first half to two players. It’s kind of a pride thing. So we fought after that.”
Johannes Thiemann delivered a career-high 31 points plus six rebounds for an ALBA team that led 45 – 37 early in the third period but couldn’t hold back Larkin, primarily, but also Mike Daum’s shooting (15 points on 5-7 triples) and Darius Thompson, scoring and playmaking (13 points plus eight assists).
Gabriele Procida had 16 points in the first half but didn’t score at all after the break. “They were scoring very effectively in the third and fourth quarter,” ALBA coach Israel Gonzalez. His team now stands at a league-low 2-11. “We needed them to miss a little bit to have chances. But I’m very happy with the work Let’s continue like this.”