Elie Okobo lights up Zalgiris, sends ASVEL to a convincing win

By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]

LDLC ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne in an exciting display secured the victory, 88-76, over Zalgiris Kaunas on Friday. The team led by T.J. Parker never trailed in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague opener.

Despite being slated questionable due to a foot injury, Elie Okobo put up 23 points in his EuroLeague debut. He made 9/9 from the floor, including 3/3 triples. The former Phoenix Suns player picked 31st overall in the 2018 NBA draft, did most of his damage in the first half with 15 points at the break.

Another former NBA player making his first EuroLeague appearance, Emmanuel Mudiay struggled for large stretches being responsible for five of his side’s 12 turnovers. He finished with 12 points in the Regular Season Round 1 contest.

Newcomer Chris Jones added 14 points and a game-high six assists for ASVEL. Youssoupha Fall off a fast start with six quick points tallied 12 points overall and also grabbed nine rebounds. Charles Kahudi had 11 points at Astroballe.

Kostas Antetokounmpo recorded six points while logging multiple debuts, including his first appearance in a European club competition fixture. Wonderkid Victor Wembanyama was limited to 3:23 with one block and a couple of turnovers.

Head coach Parker missed important players in David Lighty and Raymar Morgan. Recent arrival James Gist was also out.

The visitors trailed by 13 points in the first half but came within shooting distance from the lead in the third quarter before the French champions got back in double-digit distance and peaked at a 20-point lead. The seven remaining minutes were not enough for a comeback.

Following the first official game of the 2021-22 season, ASVEL is scheduled to start its Betclic Elite LNB Pro A campaign and then travel to Germany to meet ALBA Berlin in Round 2 of the EuroLeague Regular Season next Friday.

On the losing end, Latvian Janis Strelnieks poured a game-high 21 points powered by 4/6 three-pointers in France. Captain Paulius Jankunas was sidelined with a calf injury.

Martin Schiller’s side after a 3-0 start in Lithuania’s LKL, fell to 0-1 in EuroLeague. The team will visit Pieno Zvaigzdes in domestic action on Sunday and from there look to get to 1-1 via the home game against Zenit Saint-Petersburg next Thursday.

Photo Credit: Zalgiris

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