Union Olimpija overcame Lottomatica Roma 63-64
In already a thriller in the opening night, Union Olimpija escaped from Italy with a valuable road win by 63-64 over Lottomatica Roma on Thursday in a Group F game. After starting strong, Union Olimpija saw how Roma and a great Vladimir Dasic started getting closer until the hosts dominated for many minutes. However, thanks to the duo formed by saso Ozbolt and Kenny Gregory, the guests came back and two free throws by Gregory with 8 seconds to go were enough for Olimpija to escape with a win as Nemanja Gordic missed the last shot almost on the buzzer. Thus. Olimpija ties with Regal FC Barcelona at 1-0 atop the standings while Roma starts with a 0-1 together with Maccabi Electra. Gregory led the winners with his 19 points and 14 boards and Ozbolt joined in with 16. For Lottomatica, Dasic was the best on court with 18 points and Nihad Djedovic added 10.
A good start for Union Olimpija feature a 0-8 run capped by Damir Markota after putting back a double offensive rebound. After three minutes, Vladimir Dasic
finally scored for Lottomatica Roma and he soon added a three to make it 5-8. Neither team was running the offense particularly fast, but both of them had
options after offensive rebounds taking the score to 8-10 as Nihad Djedovic put in his own miss. Lottomatica seemed to pick up the rhythm better now, with
coach Saso Filipovski going for the rotation of the players. Soon, Dasic tied the game at 13-13 with a new three, but far from being over, Roma's run
continued with four Djedovic points that forced an Union Olimpija timeout with 17-13. There was time for the Olimpija reaction however as two free throws by
Vlado Ilievski and a three by just on court Goran Jagodnik, allowed the guests to jump ahead again but Dasic had time for a last second tip-in that put an
end to the first period, 19-18.
In the second quarter, Lottomatica started looking for its big men in offense as Ali Traore managed to score for the hosts to spark a 6-0 capped by Luigi
Datome's jumper. Olimpija still had to rely on the second options to get points as Kenny Gregory put back a miss to make it 25-22, but Traoreinsisted again
from the paint. The pace of the game was being increased little by little with both teams trying to run faster in offense. Saso Ozbolt's three free throws
tied the game at 27-27 and Ilievski and Gregory kept the guests ahead, 29-31. It was time for Roma big man Andrea Crosariol to appear now, as four points by
him allowed the hosts to arrive to the end of the first half dominatind by two points, 35-33.
The second half started with a three-pointer by, who else, Dasic and Djedovic went all the way to the rim to soon make it a 40-33 Lottomatica advantage. Four
full minutes went by until Union Olimpija found the first points through Gregory, but soon Darius Washington had his own three-point play to give Roma the
biggest margin at that point, 43-35. It was then when the guests reacted with a 1-8 run capped by Ozbolt's three-pointer to make it a one-point game, 44-43,
and force a new Roma timeout. Both teams were indeed balanced in all stats categories, and that showed on the scoreboard also. The defense of Olimpija was
starting to force mistakes on the hosts and between Ozbolt and Gregory, the Slovenian team was in command again by 46-47, but Charles Smith appeared for his
first points with a three when there were three seconds remaining in the period that would leave Lottomatica in the driver's seat, 49-47 after 30 minutes.
Two full minutes went by in the last period with no team managing to find the bottom of the net. Defenses were pressing hard until Luigi Datome found
thebasket and soon added another one to get Lottomatica going. Union Olimpija also woke up through Ozbolt. Smith appeared for a new three however and made it
56-51 for the hosts. In the next collective effort, Washington fed Dasic who, in turn, gave the ball to Crosariol for a slam that brought the house down.
With less than four minutes to go, Gregory decided to take responsibility with a personal 0-5 run for 58-56 and then Ozbolt added two free throws to tie
again at 58-58 after the 0-7 burst. Dasic replied in fashion, of course, from the arc to give Roma some air and then Nemanja Gordic found the way to the rim
to lift a layup with less than two minutes to go, that forced a new Olimpija timeout with 63-58. With four straight free throws from Markota and Gregory,
Union Olimpija pulled within 63-62 with less than one minute to go. With 40 seconds to go, Eashinton tried to drive to the basket but clashed with the
Olimpija defense. On the other end, Gregory was fouled with 8 seconds to go. He hit both attempts to put his team ahead, 63-64. Roma played the ball fast as
Gordic drove to the rim but missed. Gregory pulled the board to secure Olimpija's first Top 16 win.
Thursday, January 20, 2011