Tau Ceramica continued its climb in the Group D standings on Wednesday with a forceful 81-58 home victory that pushed a once-promising Cibona further away from advancement to the Top 16. Tau led only by 3 points, 35-32, at the half, but as its defense put Cibona in the clinch, the home team's offense soared. Tau raised its record to 5-3 and avenged its overtime loss to Cibona in the season opener. Cibona (2-6) lost its sixth game out of seven and will need a miracle now to climb out of seventh place in the group. Dejan Tomasevic led the winners with 20 points, followed by Laurent Foirest with 18, Luis Scola and Midnaugas Timinskas with 10 each. Josip Sesar had 17 for the losers and Dino Radja 13
Both teams started the game with a will to seal it quickly. The Croatians started with a 0-6 run and the first significant lead, but Dusko Ivanovic's players reacted on the spot and built a 13-0 run for 13-6. From that point, the equality between the two teams became the trend of the game, but with Tau always ahead due to great conducting by Elmer Bennett and the higher number of fouls called on the guests. The quarter ended with Dejan Tomasevic dropping a dunk on the buzzer for 24-17.
The second quarter was marked by the mistakes on both sides, which led to a 11-15 partial score for the whole second period. Once again, it seemed like the two teams were acting on impulse, with Cibona striking a 0-7 run in minute 14 to tie the score at 26-26. From there, Tau struck back with a 6-0 run and certified its take off with a spectaculer dunk by Mindaugas Timinskas. At the break it was 35-32.
The third step of the game was harder to climb for the guests, basically due to better offensive vision by Tau and its better shooting selection. In the first minutes, Ivanovic put Andres Nocioni to play defense on Reggie Freeman, the most creative player in Cibona tonight, which provoked Tau to pull away again. That was when the guests tried a 2-3 zone defense to top the hosts. Good ball movement by Chris Corchiani and the hot wrist of Laurent Foirest contributed to neutralize the Croatian defense and open a gap in the score which broke the game open. Right after that Zoran Planinic commited his fifth foul with 13 minutes to go. In the end, Tau was ahead by 15, 59-44 after outscoring Cibona in the quarter, 24-12.
The last period was the confirmation of what was seen on court before. Cibona surrendered at this point and kept adding turnovers to its stats, thanks also to a brilliant defense on Tau's side, with a totally recovered Corchiani, and also thanks to some errors like the unsportsmanlike foul by Matej Mamic to Foirest when the latter was speeding alone to the opposite basket. With a diminished rival, the hosts had it easy to end the game without pressure and the final score of 81-58 says it all. Ivanovic took advantege of the situation to put in Hugo Sconochini for his 2001-02 Euroleague debut.
Wednesday, December 12, 2001