Gran Canaria 2014 reached further than it ever has before in European competition when it destroyed visiting Crvena Zvezda 81-58 on Tuesday to qualify for the Quarterfinals by taking first place in Group L. G. Canaria finished with a 4-2 record at the top of the group and will play Group K's second-place finisher, Panellinios, in the two-way Quarterfinals. C. Zvezda was eliminated from the competition despite having started the Last 16 with a 3-0 record. Absolute dominance in the paint was the difference as G. Canaria made 28 of 47 two-pointers (59%) - double C. Zvezda's total - and outrebounded the guests 39-28. Will McDonald's 11 consecutive points inside to open the second quarter broke the game open and soon G. Canaria was into double-digit leads for the rest of the game. McDonald shot 10 for 16 in the paint to finish with 24 points. Jaycee Carroll added 13 points for the winners and Daniel Kickert 10. C. Zvezda got 12 points from Oliver Stevic, 11 from Marko Keselj and 10 from Vuk Radivojevic.
Defenses ruled early as nearly 5 minutes passed before Carroll's three baskets in a row loosened the scoreboard by putting the hosts ahead 10-5. Keselj was C. Zvezda's answer as he strung together a triple and a closer basket to tie it up, 10-10. McDonald scored inside twice for new Gran Canaria leads, but Stevic and Radivojevic forced new ties before Melvin Sanders and Daniel Kickert pushed the hosts up 18-15 after 10 minutes. To start the second quarter, G. Canaria went again and again to McDonald, who proved unstoppable again and again, piling up 11 consecutive points for the game's first double-digit lead, 27-17. Radivojevic tried to spark the guests from downtown, but Marcus Norris and Sanders took over scoring for G. Canaria, boosting the difference to 34-20. The next scoring burst also was for the hosts, a triple by Tomas Bellas and free throws from James Augustine, but Filip Videnov from deep and Stevic inside matched those 5 points. Bellas was back in the half's final minute, however, with a nother triple that gave G. Canaria a big 44-29 advantage at the break.
Carroll and Sitapha Savane opened the second half pushing G. Canaria to its biggest lead yet, 51-31, while only Nemanja Bjelica, with 5 points in a row, could find the basket for C. Zvezda. Kickert and McDonald just kept adding to the difference as Boris Bakic took over as guest scorer, but his three-pointer only served to cut the difference to 60-39. When Bjelica's free throws tried to move the margin below 20 points again, Kickert finished the third quarter making it 64-42 for the hosts. Even with Keselj launching a triple to open the final quarter, C. Zvezda had trouble even matching G. Canaria basket for basket, as Josh Fisher's three-pointer soon put the hosts ahead 73-46 and left no doubt about a Quarterfinals series headed to the Canary Islands for the first time in club history.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010