This time Asefa Estudiantes had a meagre prize. The MVP of game 9 by Carl English did not hide the defeat at Manresa court. Since 1992 our team has only defeated locals six times. The very matchbox was a festival for Assignia Manresa's outside shooters. Coach Jaume Ponsarnau sent every single small player to try the 6.75 line. Then one, then two, a league record eighteen three pointers was scored to grab a first league local win (1-8 at the standings).
In such an offensive game, Carl English (30 pt) had to be the man. From the start everything went downhill for both teams. Manresa started to gain a +5 difference although Kirksay adn English maintained a promising quarter balance (22-23)
Then it went mad.
Adam Hanga (4/6 at three-pointers) and Aleksander Yanev (3/3) started to score from very impossible position and distance. Nevertheless Estudiantes kept the pace with a solid work facing the basket. An aggregate 47pt at halftime was much more than afforded in previous games. The question was 'who is going to stop this craze?'
Kyle Kuric and Kirksay responded as if they were playing Asefa Estu their entire lives. De Vries was scoring (5/10 at 3p) and neutralising Carl English's outstanding evening. Hanga and Ramsdell started to fire, then. The latter also signed a 100% (4/4) from the court outside limits.
Some talk about Manresa's jynx. In 20 years of basketball Asefa Estudiantes has only won six times. Whatever it takes to grab a game victory at the Nou Congost arena, we did not have it Sunday night.
By no means, visitors had no clue of how to stop the efficiency from the long distance. It was another of this season's days. In nine games Estudiantes has lost more than one game against long distance shooters (as against CAI Zaragoza). Txus Vidorreta tried to stop the bleeding with 63-54. But a record-breaking Manresa had De Vries and Salva Arco and, let's face it, almost every player from the local side shooted from the 6.75. Ponsarnau tactics, albeit suicidal (who told Asselin he can face a three-pointer?) did work. A 62% of efficiency over 29 shots was simply too much.
Asefa Estudiantes remains at playoff positions (5-4) and the local squad gets involved into guerrillas (1-8). Pre-season is over, kids. Just consider it. We are in the middle of the winter turmoil.
ASSIGNIA MANRESA 98 (22-29-27-20) Asselin 10, Rodríguez 4, De Vries 20, Hernández 2, Arteaga 8, Palsson 0, Arco 5, Hanga 15, Yanev 15, Laviña 3, Ramsdell 16, Kody 0.
ASEFA ESTUDIANTES 89 (23-24-24-18) Fisher 4, Fernández 4, Clark 6, Granger 4, Gabriel 8, Kuric 10, Kirksay 17, English 30, Barnes 6, Nogueira 0. DNP: Vicedo, Guerra