Adecco Estudiantes won 88-101 on the road against Metis Varese
Adecco Estudiantes reached the berth in the semifinals after showing itself to be unstoppable for Metis Varese in an 88-101 victory for the Spaniards on the road in the second leg of their two-game quarterfinals series. As in their first game in Madrid a week ago, Estudiantes took a comfortable early lead on Tuesday in Varese and never really looked back, knowing that a 18-point first-game margin was also in its favor. A deeper bench, better offensive organization and an amazing shooting performance for the Spaniards in the first half made the difference while Metis never gave the impression to be ready for such a big comeback. All 10 players of Estudiantes scored, with German Gabriel leading the way with 18 points. Corey Brewer added 16, Rafael Vidaurreta and Andres Miso 14 each, and Hernan Jasen 11. Rusty Larue netted 22 for Varese, Alessandro DePol 13, Boris Gorenc 11 and Paolo Conti 10.
Some 3,000 excited fans were packed on the stands of PalaIgnis in Varese when the game started with Cristiano Zanus-Fortes scored the first basket, but Corey Brewer answered with 7 straight points giving his team a 3-7 lead. After Boris Gornec tried to reduce the deficit on his dunk, Brewer again ended his personal show scoring his 11th point in just 6 minutes for an 8-13 Estudiantes lead. De Pol came off the bench and pulled down 2 offensive rebounds to spur teammates while Gorenc hit a triple for 12-16. Estudiantes coach Pepu Hernandez involved all his players during the first period and Nacho Azofra scored an open three for the biggest advantage after 9 minutes, 12-21. The first period finished on 16-24 with an attempt fom half court at the buzzer by Iker Iturbe dancing on the rim.
Estudiantes was in perfect control of the game beginning the second period, playing on offense with the right circulation of the ball, good drive-and-dish plays and deadly threes by Azofra. A Jasen jam punctuated a 4-11 run that made it 20-35. Metis had big trouble stopping the Estudiantes drives and the Spaniards took open shots with their feet set, including one by Andres Miso that gave his team a 24-42 advantage after 15 minutes. Varese aligned a 3-2 zone to stop the Spanish penetrations, but home team's offense was also in troble. De Pol fought as a lion, pulling down boards, and the zone produced a pair of steals giving Varese a chance to get closer, but that only meant within 33-49. There was nothing to do for Varese against a team well-organized on both ends and constantly bringing in fresh reserves. The first half finished 36-56 for the guests, and now 38 points to recover in just 20 minutes seemed a mission impossible.
The third quarter started as the second finished, with Estudiantes managing the game and Varese with no hopes to win the series but attempting to do something to rally and win the game to do anything for their fans. Estudiantes showed itself to be too experienced to make any kind of gift to the Italians and its advantage reamined still large after 25 minutes, 48-63. Varese got back to within 52-63 on a short jumper by Larue, but Vidaurreta answered with 5 streak points to estabilish another comfortable lead, 52-68. The third period ended with 55-76 on the scoreboard for Spaniards with a final basket by Miso.
The last period was soft for both teams with Estudiantes playing under control and at a slow pace and with Metis trying almost to win the match. The hosts came as close as 89-87 with 4 minutes on the clock thanks to a triple posted by young forward Marco Allegretti, but the Spanish team played concentrated until the end to mantain its lead and win the game and series.
Tuesday, March 4, 2003