Three players scored in double figures as Lottomatica Roma held off DKV Joventut 85-71 for its first victory in Group C of the Euroleague. Ibrahim Jaaber led the way with 17 points and Sani Becirovic added 15 points including a four-point play and another three-pointer in a decisive 17-0 run in the third quarter. Andre Hutson added 10 points and 11 rebounds while Rodrigo de la Fuente had 9 points and Primoz Brezec chipped in 8 points and 9 rebounds. Roma bounced back from its season-opening loss at Alba Berlin to improve to 1-1 in Group C ahead of a trip to Union Olimpija. DKV Joventut meanwhile dropped to 1-1 despite 23 points and 14 rebounds from Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Bracey Wright added 14 points and Edu Hernandez-Sonseca had 11, but it was not enough. Joventut gets a chance to return to the winning column at home next week against Fenerbahce.
Roma took advantage of Joventut’s early struggles in taking a 10-0 lead with Luigi Datome scoring 5 points and Brandon Jennings hitting a triple. Wright finally got the guests on the scoreboard with a three-pointer about five minutes into the game. Jennings's 2 foul shots left Roma ahead 15-5. But Mensah-Bonsu threw down a dunk to spark a 2-13 surge during which he scored 6 points and Hernandez-Sonseca hit for 7 as Joventut took a 17-18 lead after one period.
Becirovic opened the second quarter and de la Fuente converted 2 turnovers into layups in pushing Roma ahead 23-18. Mensah-Bonsu continued his fine game with 2 foul shots for the first Joventut score of the period. And Simas Jasaitis knocked down 2 triples to give Joventut a 25-28 lead. But Roberto Gabini answered right back with a three-pointer. Wright also hit from long range and then Jan Jagla made 3 points for a 30-35 lead. Roma continued the back-and-forth affair, knotting the game on Datome’s lay-up. But 2 Mensah-Bonsu foul shots had Joventut up 37-39 at intermission.
Mensah-Bonsu opened the second half and Hernandez-Sonseca’s basket had Joventut up 42-45. But Becirovic knocked down a three-pointer and converted a four-point play. And that changed the flow of the game as Roma went on a 17-0 surge, which was finished by a triple by Becirovic and included two break-away layups off turnovers by Angelo Gigli. Already down 59-45, Hernandez-Sonseca finally stopped the bleeding to make it 59-47. Wright hit 3 foul shots late in the quarter, but Jaaber hit a buzzer-beating three to give Roma a 68-51 lead going into the fourth.
The Spanish side made an early push in the final period with Demond Mallet hitting a three-pointer to complete a 2-9 run and make it a 10-point game. Allan Ray answered with a triple, but Jasaitis came right back down with a three. Mallet knocked down another three-ball to make it 73-66 deficit. But Joventut turned the ball over twice and Hutson made two layups and the lead was back up to 79-66 after Jaaber’s foul shots, allowing Roma to start celebrating their first win of the season.
Thursday, October 30, 2008