Sunday, October 16, 2011

Harper & Strasbourg Eat 1st Defeat

It's not like SIG Strasbourg wasn't given much hope of playing a close match against the defending French Pro A champion SLUC Nancy Cougars (hilarious I know), let alone somehow doing it on the road and trying to steal a win in Nancy. But Strasbourg showed the type of fight and grit that I'm sure made coach Vincent Collet very proud despite the 67-62 defeat Saturday night. It's a shame too because Strasbourg had the lead for a good chunk of this match.

Portland Trailblazers fans can see that Nicolas Batum shot horribly going 2-for-12, which was a big reason why SIG hung around the entire match. Here are the game highlights. Check out the 2:07 mark where Harper SWATS THE HELL out of a transition lay-up attempt. Awesome athleticism. At the end of the clip, you'll see Harper be forced to rush a difficult 3-point shot at the end to keep SIG in the game.

Magic rookie Justin Harper had a rough shooting outing when it was imperative that SIG's offensive guns needed to be efficient. 12 points on 4-of-13 field goals in 22 minutes won't get it done. After refusing to not attempt a 3-pointer in his official debut, Justin put up a paltry 1-of-7 shooting from downtown. Once again though, Harper's defensive potential looks hopeful as he snagged 9 rebounds and swatted away 2 shots. SIG's youth and inexperience crept into the final minute of an otherwise very well planned contest and basically bumbled away 39 minutes of superb battling. It was a step back from the clutch comeback Strasbourg had last week against Cholet.

The postgame media coverage seems overall positive with SIG in good spirits about the effort they put out. Collet's high expectations for this inexperienced squad are not unfounded after two decent performances. 1-1 Strasbourg next plays October 22nd at home versus 1-1 Le Havre. SIG needs to prove they can transform their home court into a fortress. Strasbourg won both meetings last year.

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