Marcus Haislip scored a career-high 33 points to lead Efes Pilsen to a 91-76 win over RheinEnergie Cologne on Wednesday night at Abdi Ipekci Sports Hall in Istanbul, Turkey. Efes improved to 5-4 in Group A, joining Dynamo Moscow for third place. RheinEnergie dropped to 2-7, sharing the group cellar with Climamio Bologna. Haislip was everywhere, scoring from downtown while also throwing down a host of alley-oop slams to delight the crowd on the way to a big win. The power forward made 9-of-10 two-pointers and drilled 5-of-10 threes, while adding 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Drew Nicholas also netted five threes on the way to a season-high 24, Ermal Kuqo added 14 and Horace Jenkins finished with 10 points and 9 assists. Ronnie Burrell led RheinEnergie with 23 points and 8 rebounds, Demond Mallet had 21 and Mladjen Sljivancanin 11. Haislip's slams helped Efes take an early lead, but RheinEnergie bounced back to take a brief lead in the second period. Haislip and Kuqo pushed Efes to a 49-39 halftime lead and the hosts held on throughout the second half.
Mustafa Abli opened the scoring for Efes after just 14 seconds with a three-pointer as the hosts shined immediately on the offensive end. Sljivancanin answered with RheinEnergie's first points, but Kuqo helped Efes surge with back-to-back baskets followed by a pair of assist to Haislip for alley-oop slams that made it 13-7. Haislip remained hot, drilling a triple and taking two more alley-oop dishes from Jenkins for a 20-11 lead. But RheinEnergie didn’t quit, keeping close behind points from from Mallet and Sljivancanin. Haislip added another three-pointer to give him 14 first-quarter points and Marcin Gortat made a free throw to end the opening period with Efes on top 29-22.
The visitors slowed the game down in the second quarter with increased defensive pressure. Mallet’s skillful layup helped inspire a RheinEnergie run, which Marcus Faison capped with a layup plus foul to get his team to 32-31. Burrell gave the visitors their first lead when he made a pair of free throws midway through the quarter, 35-36, but Haislip and Kuqo returned to the court instead of Kerem Gonlum and Nikola Prkacin and the momentum turned back Efes's way. Haislip and Nicholas sparked a 14-3 run that ended the half with the hosts leading 49-39.
Efes made a quick start to the second half and extended its lead to 14 points through Haislip again. However the visitors responded with a 0-8 spurt over the next two minutes as Sljivancanin and Janar Talts heated up, closing the gap to 55-49. Haislip threw down an alley-oop slam for the fifth time to again increase Efes's advantage to double figures. The pace quieted for the rest of the third quarter as both teams missed good opportunities to score. Mallet fixed the score at 66-59 from the line after 30 minutes.
Haislip started the fourth quarter with another three and Nicholas and Jenkins joined the party too as Efes looked to pull away. Mallet and Burrell tried to get the visitors back, but the home team looked unstoppable. Haislip, Jenkins and Nicholas helped Efes increase its lead to 17 points before Burrell dunked with 14 seconds left. Prkacin scored the final basket with a layup on an assist from Jenkins to finalize the big win for the hosts, 91-76.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006