After having started the ULEB Cup with two losses, Adecco Estudiantes took hold of second place in Group C by defeating RheinEnergie Cologne 87-66 at home on the last day of the regular season Tuesday. The win improves Estudiantes' record to 7-3, the same as Krka Novo Mesto, but the Slovenians won a tiebreaker by having beaten the Spaniards by more points in the two games they played, each winning one. Cologne ends the regular season in third place at 6-4. Corey Brewer led the winnners with 22 points including 5-for-7 three-pointers. German Gabriel bagged 16 and Felipe Reyes nailed 12. For RheinEnergie, Zoran Kukic was top scorer with 17 points, Clint Harrison added 13 and Vladimir Bogojevic and Stephen Arigbabu posted 10 each.
The game started with two quick threes by Brewer and Harrison, one for each side. The zone defense played by the hosts overcame the individual defense played by the Germans in the first minutes, and Estudiantes managed to pull away by 9 in minute 7, 20-11. The guests called the first timeout, which showed its results with an improvement in defense that pulled Cologne within 22-19 after 10 minutes. The second quarter showed the same systems on both sides, even though the point guards were changed, being Nacho Azofra and Johannes Strasser the game leaders on court. Offense ruled upon defense, even though the hosts held better percentages. Brewer was already the best scorer with 16 points, 15 of them hit from downtown. Both teams had rather low percentages: 11 of 21 two-point shots and 5 of 10 threes for Estudiantes, and 9 of 25 plus 4 of 9 for Cologne, which led the teams to the lockerrooms with a 41-35.
The second half of the game started with the hosts increasing their lead rather effortlessly to 8 points, 44-36 in minute 23. Coach Stephan Baeck was forced to call another timeout, after which RheinEnergie started with a press defense all over the court, that didn't deliver the expected results as Estudiantes maintained control of the game. The leads moved from 10 to 12 points for the hosts, while for the Germans, only Zoran Kukic and Geert Hammink kept the score alive. After 30 minutes, Adecco Estudiantes led 58-48. In the last quarter, Baeck's team lowered its defenses and appeared to be content with the third place of the group, while Estudiantes took advantage of it to increase the lead to 26 points, 84-58 in minute 38, turning the game into a festival for the fans that enjoyed the game of their team.
Friday, January 17, 2003