For its first season under the American flag, Elan Béarnais is sailing towards a return to the play-offs. Pau invited himself to the top 4 on Saturday evening after his victory in Dijon (89-85). Like Wednesday evening, against Le Mans (87-77), Brandon Jefferson was again the great architect of Béarnais success.
The American rear, bereaved by the death of his grandfather earlier this week, first restored the advantage to Pau-Orthez by initiating an 8-0 (73-68, 33rd). Then, with less than three minutes to play, the former Strasbourger fired a new killer three-point arrow (83-76, 37th). Well supported by Vitalis Chikoko (15 points) and Gregor Hrovat (17), Jefferson pushes Dijon back to sixth place, despite the efforts of David Holston (20 points, 7 assists).
Already qualified for the final of the Coupe de France, Pau-Orthez remains on four successes in five matches since his defeat in the Clasico, in Limoges. A hitch that the Béarnais will be able to erase next Sunday by welcoming the CSP.
Fos continues at Le Mans, Cole decisive
Like Pau-Orthez, Fos-sur-Mer offered the scalps of Dijon and Le Mans in the space of three days. After dominating the JDA on Tuesday night (97-79), the Byers surprised Antares (99-93). Lassan Kromah has further darkened the statistics sheet (27 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists), well helped by two former Manceaux.
DJ Stephens added 13 points and point guard Deishuan Booker, landed at Fos in early March, planted a decisive award-winning shot to breathe new life into the Byers in the last minute (95-91, 39th). Fos returns to height of Orleans, first non-relegation, with eight victories on the clock.
Limoges took advantage of the missteps from Le Mans and Dijon to climb to fifth place after their quiet victory over Roanne (86-61). At the bottom of the standings, we can’t stop Paris, who pocketed a fourth victory in the last five matches against Gravelines-Dunkerque (91-87). Only defeated at Bercy by Monaco (69-76) in this series, Jean-Christophe Prat’s men are getting a little closer, with this 11th victory, to a maintenance that still seemed very hypothetical a month ago.
The capital club reversed a situation that seemed hopeless, when they were left behind in the middle of the third quarter (55-69), apathetic in defense, dropping too many offensive rebounds (15) and leaving the northern club, led by Jeremiah Hill and Vafessa Fofana (20 points each) binge in attack.
Paris full of cold blood in the money-time
Suddenly transfigured, after being kept afloat by Dustin Sleva (16 points, 11 rebounds, 2/2 to 3 points), the Parisians put down the lock (13 points conceded in the last quarter) and found the fault, thanks to a collective welded around his young shoots, all effective in money-time -Milan Barbitch (8 points), Ismael Kamagaté (13 points, 10 rebounds) Gauthier Denis (6 points, author of the equalizer in the corner at 83-83 at two minutes of the gong).
On a cloud for three matches, Juhann Begarin (19) confirmed by delivering a fiery money-time, going for baskets with a fault, intercepting balls, extinguishing Fofana in defense, and finishing with 17 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists and to crown it all a decisive counter on a shot from Jeremiah Hill, which would have offered the equalizer to Gravelines. Kyle Allman (24 points, 5/7 from 3 points, 7 assists) finished the job with two cold-blooded penetrations in the last minute. Gravelines cash a fourth defeat in five matches and now shares 12th place with his executioner of the evening (11-15).
It took a serious and resilient Strasbourg, as well as a decisive Jordan Howard in the money-time, author of the 3-point shot of victory in the corner fifteen seconds from the gong to dispose of Cholet (90-88). The Mauges club, untenable since mid-January, suffered only its second defeat in the last eleven Championship matches. Dominic Artis (6 points, 0/6 in shooting) and the dominant DJ Hogg (27 points, 10 rebounds, Betclic Elite records, 2 assists, 4 blocks) had three chances on the last possession to equalize and seek overtime , but in vain.
Howard (17 points), was well assisted by DeAndre Lansdowne (18 points) and Yannis Morin (15 points, 7 rebounds). The SIG suffered but enforced logic in a match that they generally mastered but which could have escaped them because of their 20 stray balls. Lassi Tuovi’s men take advantage of the defeat of Nanterre to widen the gap to 8th place, the last qualifier for the playoffs (15-13). Cholet is alone 11th (12-14).
Incredible outcome in Nanterre, where Bourg came to seek a precious victory (66-65) and which could have escaped him at the last second. His new recruit Norris Cole had just restored an advantage which seemed decisive to Laurent Legname’s men, on a 2-point shot (his only points of the match). There was only one second left to play, ball to Nanterre. Enough for Nick Johnson to trigger a shot and cause the fault of Axel Julien, who came to take two. Alone behind the line, the American leader, who had already offered his team several matches this season on decisive shots, then, in front of a dumbfounded audience, missed his two free throws.
Bourg sees some light again after losing four of their last six Betclic Elite matches. Already victorious against Le Mans on March 19 (79-65) and in the Eurocup two days ago in a match without stakes but interesting in Podgorica (75-73), the Bressan club finds the defensive standards that its coach wanted to implement in the Bresse. With this twelfth victory, he almost ensures his maintenance while keeping a slim hope of play-offs and consolidating his tenth place (12-13) while Nanterre, defeated for the third time in a row, slips to 9th place (13- 13).