DKV Joventut Badalona used a fourth-quarter rally to outlast Union Olimpija 67-69 in a thriller in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Thursday night. Marko Milic punished Joventut's defense for three quarters, but after that, a 0-8 run to start the last period allowed the visitors to jump ahead for good. The win saw Joventut improve its Group B record to 4-3, good for a share of second place. Olimpija fell to 1-6 and remains in last place. Rudy Fernandez led the winners with 17 points, while Robert Archibald added 9 points and 10 rebounds. Milic increased his career-high for the second straight games, posting 24 points and 15 rebounds, while Manuchar Markoishvili added 12.
The game started with Fernandez crossing the court for a big dunk, but Milic replied to make it 2-2. Fernandez blasted 5 points, including a three to make it 2-7, but Domen Lorbek also drilled a bomb from downtown and Teemu Rannikko did the same to put Olimpija ahead for the first time, 8-7. The hosts dominated the offensive glass and tied the score at 10-10. Milic scored 8 of his own to launch Olimpija, before Elmer Bennett replied with a three, 18-13. A technical foul on Charles Gaines gave Olimpija an extra edge, but Drew Sullivan was smart and stole a ball for a last basket that left it 24-17 after 10 minutes.
Ender Arslan opened the second quarter with a three, and soon added another basket to maintain Olimpija's lead. Joventut tried to trim the deficit, looking for options inside, as Archibald went scored 4 straight points to make it 29-23. Ivica Jurkovic stopped the bleeding for Olimpija, but Archibald remained active in the paint for Joventut. The patience of Olimpija allowed the hosts to pull away to 35-26 on Jurkovic's easy layup. Fernandez scored a jumper, but slipped as he landed and had to go to the bench with an injury. Milic's 10th rebound resulted in 2 more points, but Ricky Rubio fed Dmitry Flis underneath to get Joventut within 37-31. However, Markoishvili had time for two free throws at the end of the first half to make it 39-31 at the break for Olimpija.
Paco Vazquez blasted a three and Sullivan added a basket to bring Badalona within 3 at the start of the second half. Hasan Rizvic scored for Olimpija to get the hosts going, but Sullivan was back from the locker room and scoring . The Joventut defense forced Olimpija to run long plays, and on the other side, Ferran Laviña hit the bottom of the net with a three to get the visitors to 43-41. However Milic's reply brought him up to 18 points. Fernandez was back on the court and that gave a morale injection to Joventut, as did Rannikko's fourth foul in the 27th minute. Gaines made it a one-point game from the line, 45-44, as Joventut performed better on the defensive glass and Fernandez posted a three to tie the game again. Two free throws by Vazquez and a triple at the buzzer by Fernandez allowed Joventut to jump ahead after 30 minutes, 50-52.
Laviña, Archibald and Rubio combined for a 0-6 Joventut spurt as Milic went to the bench with foul trouble, giving the visitors their biggest lead, 50-58. Olimpija had trouble scoring from outside and Joventut's defense came through with some steals as Fernandez fed Gaines for an alley-oop that gave the guests a double-digit lead. Olimpija needed 4 minutes and 20 seconds to score its first basket in the last period through Lorbek, and Milic soon added another, but then committed an unsportsmanlike foul over Gaines. However, a three-point play by Rizvic made it 57-61 and Milic grabbed a defensive rebound and crossed the court to make it 59-61 with three minutes to go. Rubio turned the ball over after Joventut's timeout, and Lorbek hit two free throws to tie the game at 61-61. Fernandez was Joventut's savior again and Rubio added two free throws with 90 seconds to go, 61-65. Markoishvili had a basket-plus-foul situation for 64-65, but on the next play, Milic fouled out and Gaines had free throws with 33 seconds to go. Gaines hit both attempts making it a three-point game. Arslan missed two triples on the other end and Rubio finished off the game with two more free throws that made Markoishvili's last triple for protocol only.
Thursday, December 7, 2006