Athens side Maroussi BC took a step towards reaching the Euroleague regular season for the first time with a 79-70 victory over Alba Berlin on Tuesday in Game 1 of their second qualifying round home-and-away series.
Maroussi had qualified by thumping Aris in the first qualifying round earning the chance to get to the Euroleague Group Stage.
If Maroussi wins the second leg or loses by 8 points or fewer, it will punch a ticket to the Euroleague. Game 2 is set for Sunday evening at o2 World in the German capital.
Alba came out swinging and built a double-digit lead in the second quarter before settling for a 30-38 halftime advantage.
However Maroussi came out stronger for the second half as Dimitrios Mavroeidis scored 8 during a 19-4 run that turned the game on its head and Maroussi remained in control the rest of the way.
Mavroeidis finished with 19 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes for the winners, Kostas Kaimakoglou added 16 points, Michalis Pelekanos had 14 and Billy Keys 12. Blagota Sekulic paced Berlin with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks, Rashad Wright and Immanuel McElroy scored 12 apiece and Julius Jenkins and Adam Chubb each netted 10.
Georgios Bartzokas, Maroussi head coach said, “This a very important win, which gives us the opportunity to go in [to] Berlin and fight for qualification. Alba Berlin is a team that I respect very much because they have homogeny and they have impressive speed in five-on-five situations.
“Our target was to beat them even by one point and now we have nine to defend. We found our rhythm in the second half thanks to our defence and this is something we have to invest in,” he said after the big win.
Maroussi big man Mavroeidis said, “We beat them by 9 points and we go there to fight and give everything we have to accomplish our dream.
“If we play like we did in the second half, we can make it. In the first half we didn’t move the ball well on offence and we didn’t play good defence against their pick-and-roll, but the second half was another story.”