Despite leading comfortably during more than three quarters, Climamio Bologna needed an overtime to escape Zagreb with an 89-96 win over Cibona in a Group A duel between two teams already in the Top 16. Behind all game by double digits, Cibona jumped ahead late to send the game into overtime at 81-81 after four quarters. However, Ruben Douglas appeared with 5 points in the extra session to lift Climamio to a 10-2 record, the same as Efes Pilsen. Cibona dropped to 7-5 to tie with Real Madrid for third place. Milos Vujanic was the best scorer with 27 points for Climamio in almost 44 minutes of floor time. Douglas added 17, Martin Rancik 14 and Erazem Lorbek a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. For Cibona, who lost Gerald Fitch early due to an injury, Josip Vrankovic led the way with 23 points and 3 of 5 triples. Josip Sesar and Marton Bader had 12 points apiece, Andrej Stimac 11 and Marko Popovic 10.
Fitch scored inside and Popovic hit his first triple for a 5-1 Cibona start. Lorbek scored Climamio's first 3 points and fed Douglas for a 5-5 tie. Douglas then sent the guests ahead 5-7 as part of a 0-9 run in which Vujanic nailed his first three-pointer. Down 5-12 now, Cibona had not scored a point in 3 minutes but as Josko Poljak broke the spell for the hosts, Fitch had to leave the court with a slight injury. Nice ball circulation let Damir Omerhodzic slam and then Popovic blasted a new triple to pull Cibona within 14-15. Climamio reacted immediately, however, as Vujanic scored 4 points in pushing the guests ahead 14-21. Popovic replied with a drive but Gianluca Basile closed the quarter with a flashy layup on the buzzer for a 16-23 Climamio advantage.
Sesar made his presence felt with a triple to start the second quarter but Vujanic just added another for a 21-28 lead. Both teams ran as much as the defenses allowed. Marton Bader's free throws and Sesar's layup promised a Cibona surge, but Climamio was able to stay ahead 25-31. That, however, is when Stimac stepped up now for 4 straight points to pull Cibona as close as 29-33. Basile answered, and Poljak did the same for Cibona, but when Vujanic finished a fastbreak for his 14th point, Climamio was still in charge, 33-40. A Vladimir Krstic triple for Cibona didn't change that, as Stefano Mancinelli copied it and Lorbek tipped in to send the visitors up 38-47 at the break.
Vrankovic opened fire with a pair of triples to start the second half but Martin Rancik answered with a triple for Climamio. Vujanic added 4 more points for the first double-digit lead of the night, 40-54, but Vrankovic got 4 points back on one play, a triple-plus-free throw. Nobody could stop Vujanic as he drove again for points, so that when Basile scored a new bomb from downtown, the lead was 48-61. Bader was using his size on the paint now for Cibona on both ends, firing up the crowd with a monster block over Dalibor Bagaric. Vrankovic joined him in trimming the difference to 54-61. After Sesar blocked Vujanic, Stimac made it 56-61 with 2 free throws. Cibona kept pushing until Poljak hit a layup after an offensive board on the third-quarter buzzer to leave the deficit in single digits, 60-67.
The game changed early in the final quarter, when Popovic fed Marin Rozic on a fastbreak and Sesar added a triple for a 65-67 scoreboard. Without having rested a single minute, Vujanic appeared again with a triple, but Sesar did the same for Cibona. A great tip-in by Poljak made it a one-point game, 70-71 and this time Vujanic's shot didn't go in. With 5:45 to go, Vrankovic finally landed the triple that put Cibona in control again after many minutes, 73-71. Both teams struggled to score now, until Vrankovic stepped up with another three-pointer to make it 76-72. A turnover by Climamio allowed what seemed like a decisive Stimac triple to set a 79-72 gap. But after Lorbek scored free throws, Douglas rained a precious three-pointer from the corner to tie 79-79. A fouling strategy saw Krstic score twice at the line, but Vujanic did the same to tie 81-81 with 17 seconds left, and when Popovic missed on the last play of the fourth quarter, overtime was at hand.
Douglas opened the extra-session with an identical triple as his previous one. But Cibona tied again with a 4-0 run after Krstic's jumper. The trend was the same as in the last minutes, with both teams struggling in offense. Lorbek scored twice from the stripe again, 87-89 but Bader did so to tie again, 89-89. Douglas appeared with a three-point play with 1:40 remaining and was fouled again on the next play, sinking the free throws for a 89-94 score. A crucial steal by Vujanic let him fed Rancik for a huge dunk that sealed the win of Climamio at 89-96.
Thursday, January 27, 2005