Pivovarna Lasko took the high road to the next round from Group B on Tuesday with a slim 79-77 home win against Eurocellulary Roseto that was worth its weight in gold. Though Pivovarna (4-5) could lose next week and end up in a three-way tie if Opel Skyliners (3-6) beat Roseto (4-5), that tie would let in both Opel and Pivovarna, because Roseto would end up with the worst head-to-head record between the three. Roseto needs to win at home or will not advance. On Tuesday, Pivovarna was led with 22 points by Kenyan Weaks. Smiljan Pavic added 18 and Dragan Dojcin contributed 14 for the winners. For Eurocellulari Roseto, Rodney Monroe bagged 24 points and Marko Milic added 21, while Juan Moltedo contributed 12.
Lasko started the game with a 7-2, but that mood didn't last as Milic only needed some minutes to warm up and rattle the hosts. His 12 points in the first 10 minutes gave the Italian team a two-point lead to defend after the first quarter, 21-23. Balance remained in the second quarter, with the only difference being that Milic's role was this time played by Mauro Sartori. His 2 straight threes gave 6 points to Roseto, 31-37, with 2 minutes to go in the quarter. But that margin didn't last long as Pavic, Weaks and Ermal Kuqo ended the first 20 minutes drawin Pivovarna within 37-39 before the second half.
Until the last minutes of the game, neither team managed to pull away by more than one or two baskets, so the game would be sealed in the last minute. With 70 seconds to go, Lasko was holding a four-point lead, 76-72, after four free throws by Weaks. When the clock marked 36 to go, Roseto had climbed back to 76-76, but Weaks stroked his shot again on the following play for 78-76, even though the game was far from being sealed. With 8 seconds to go, Milic was only able to score 1 the 2 free throws he attempted, and the ball fell to Primoz Brolih of Pivovarna, who went to the line after an unsportsmanlike foul. He also scored 1 free throw only, as Lasko lost the ball in the following possession, but the players of Roseto didn't find an option for the easy shot and the win stayed in Lasko.
Tuesday, January 7, 2003