In a decisive game for both teams, Benetton Treviso finished third in Group C by downing Eldo Napoli 62-64 in come-from-behind fashion to win their all-Italian showdown on Thursday. Benetton rallied from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter to hold onto third place in Group C with a 8-6 record. Meanwhile, Eldo Napoli dropped to 6-8 and finishing sixth in Group C, but still has a slim chance to advance to the Top 16 as the best sixth-ranked team depending on what happens in Group B on Thursday. Marcus Goree led the winners with 13 points, including a critical three-pointer that sealed the win with 17.3 seconds to go. Terrell Lyday had 10 for Benetton, which also had four other players with at least 8 points. Tyrone Ellis had 16 points for Napoli, Michel Morandais added 13 and Ansu Sesay 11. Eldo led 60-54 with 4 minutes to go, but Benetton used a 0-10 run that Goree capped with a big triple to get a key road win.
Mason Rocca just needed 5 seconds after tipoff to score in the paint while Sesay buried a triple for a 5-0 Eldo lead. Ellis added a put-back basket before a turnaround jumper by Morandais made Benetton call timeout at 9-0. The guests went scoreless for almost 3 minutes until Lyday put down a driving layup. Eldo kept playing with more intensity, as Morandais scored on an offensive rebound while Benetton kept missing and Rocca's free throw gave the hosts a 14-2 lead. Joey Beard and Lyday tried to rescue Benetton with 5 quick points, getting the guests within 15-7. Eldo called timeout but Benetton kept its momentum going. Goree made more foul shots while Bryant Smith buried a corner triple that capped a 0-11 run and brought Benetton back to life at 15-13. Sesay nailed a long two-pointer while Beard and Alessandro Cittadini traded dunks to fix the score at 19-15 after 10 minutes.
Early in the second quarter, Marco Mordente fed Beard for a reverse layup but Morandais beat the shot clock with a baseline jumper and soon added a coast-to-coast layup, good for a 23-17 Eldo lead. Valerio Spinelli stepped up with a driving layup, making Benetton call timeout at 25-17. Benetton could not find the way to the basket for 3 long minutes during which Jeff Trepagnier dunked it off a midcourt steal and Rocca added a second-chance basket for a 29-17 Eldo lead. Matteo Malaventura capped a 12-0 run for Eldo with a long two-pointer, as Benetton missed six straight shots until Lyday stepped up with a layup-plus-free throw. Malaventura fired in another shot and Ellis made free throws to make it a 15-point game, 35-20. Matteo Soragna hit a turnaround jumper and Spencer Nelson added free throws in a 0-8 run that Mordente capped with consecutive layups to bring Benetton back to life, 35-28, at halftime.
Benetton tried a zone defense after the break and Eldo failed to find its scoring rhythm. Meanwhile, Lyday buried one from downtown to get the guests as close as 35-31. Ellis answered from the arc, so Benetton switched back to man-to-man defense. Sesay scored in penetration while Morandais nailed an off-balance fallaway jumper, good for a 42-32 Eldo lead. Soragna nailed a triple and Nelson found space for a jumper, but Jay Larranaga joined the three-point festival to keep Eldo ahead, 45-37. Rocca returned to the bench with 4 fouls and Napoli opted to use a zone defense and slow down its offense. As such, both teams went scoreless for 2 minutes until Smith made a free throw. Mordente added a long two-pointer to give Benetton some hope at 45-40. Sesay stepped up with free throws but Beard did the same for Benetton. Morandais buried a triple and had a huge block on Beard to fire up the crowd with Eldo leading 50-42 at the end of the third quarter.
Goree made 3 free throws to start the fourth quarter and Nelson added a fast break layup to bring Benetton within 50-47. The guests kept running their offense through Goree, who scored again before Mordente capped a 0-9 run with a layup that gave Benetton a 50-51 edge. Sesay shined with a tough jumper and Ellis fired in a critical three-pointer, forcing a Benetton timeout at 55-51. Eldo kept fighting for every loose ball, backed by an incredible crowd. Ellis buried another three-pointer but Soragna answered from downtown to keep Benetton as close as 58-54. Trepagnier hit a big jumper that Goree matched with a power layup. Nelson made a free throw and added a jumper to make it a one-point game, 60-59, with 3 minutes to go. Eldo missed a go-to guy in crunch time while Nikos Zisis found his first basket for a 60-61 Benetton edge. It all came down to the final seconds, when with 17.3 seconds left, Goree buried a decisive triple for a 60-64 edge. Eldo ran out of time, as a final put-back basket by Ellis came too late.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007