2007-08Top 16Round 5
March 12, 2008 CET: 20:30
Local time: 20:30 FERNANDO BUESA ARENA
Tiago Splitter - Tau Ceramica - EB07

Tau Ceramica scored a 90-74 victory over Aris TT Bank

Tau Ceramica trounced Aris TT Bank 90-74 on Wednesday night at the Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria, Spain, to remained undefeated in the Top 16 and clinch first place in Group E. Tau, which won its seventh straight home game, will have home-court advantage in the best-of-three Quarterfinal Playoffs, where it will face the team that finishes the Top 16 in second place in Group D. Meanwhile Aris, which dropped to 1-4 in the group, saw its last hopes of advancing to the next stage disappear. Aris shot well in the first half and behind Jeremiah Massey, went ahead 22-29 early in the second period. However the hosts rallied to take a 43-37 halftime lead and the advantage continued to grow throughout the second half as Tau made it look easy. Tiago Splitter led Tau with 18 points, Pablo Prigioni added 16 points, 4 assists and 4 steals, Igor Rakocevic returned from injury with 11 points and Gabe Muoneke had 10 off the bench. Meanwhile Aris, which was doomed by its 21 turnovers, was led by power forward Jeremiah Massey with 26 points, while Hanno Mottola added 12.

The defenses seemed to be on holiday as both teams showed a great performance in offense in the early going. Tau missed its first field goal attempt after two-and-a-half minutes, scoring 8 points during that period. Aris didn’t struggle either as Dimitris Tsaldaris and Mottola hit a triple and a pair of free throws, respectively, to stay close. The home team reacted after Georgios Kalaitzis made it a 1-point game with a jumper, using Mirza Teletovic as its main weapon. The Bosnian forward sank a triple and capped a fastbreak with a monster slma for a 13-7 lead. Two free throws by Splitter boosted the hosts to a 15-7 edge, but Aris didn’t panic and found good solutions with its inside players. Mottola hit back-to-back three pointers and Massey scored in the paint in transition to bring Aris within 20-19 entering in the last minute. Tau head coach Neven Spahija called for an urgent timeout, but Massey made a layup to give Aris its first lead with 30 seconds to go. Although Splitter answered with 2 free throws of his own, Bracey Wright nailed a nice three-pointer at the buzzer for a 22-24 Aris edge at the end of the first period.

Massey took over after the break, destroying Teletovic with 5 points in a row at the low post to extend the visitors’ margin to 22-29. Tau had trouble finding the required flow on offense. The drought came to an end thanks to Prigioni, who stole a ball and went for the layup to reduce the difference to 24-29, forcing Aris head coach Gordon Herbert to use a timeout. Prigioni kept rocking, as he nailed a corner three to make it a 2-point game, but even more important for the hosts was that they found the intensity needed to stop the inside power of Aris. Both teams decided to switch to zone defenses at that point, but Pete Mickeal and Reyshawn Terry exchanged triples to break the defenses at both ends pretty quickly. Prigioni tied the game with a layup on the offensive glass, starting a two-minute period in which both teams remained scoreless. It was Mickeal, with a short jumper, who broke the tie and put Tau in charge again with two minutes to go. Things got a bit worse for the visitors as their bench was called for a technical foul, which was exploited by Tau to widen the gap to 37-33. Prigioni, with his second three, closed the half with a 43-37 lead for the home team.

The second half got off to a quiet start with nearly two minutes going by before the first points were scored. Rakocevic and then Splitter broke the trend before Massey hit a triple to prevent the hosts from pulling away. Aris’s defense improved with increased intensity to slow down Tau’s ball circulation, but wasn’t enough to rally as the yellows were blind to the hosts’ full-court pressure. Rakocevic and Splitter combined again for 5 points in a row that gave Tau a double-digit margin, 53-40, midway through the third quarter. Aris tried to rally, but was stopped inside by Muoneke and Splitter. The Brazilian center hit twice from the free throw line for a game-high 15-point lead, 57-42, after 26 minutes, but the yellows were not dead yet. Darius Washington, Terry and Massey joined forces to spark a 0-7 run that made it an 8-point game, forcing Spahija to look for a change in team direction. Prigioni replaced Zoran Planinic, but the visitors remained hot, as Massey came up big against Tau’s frontcourt and brought Aris within 61-55 with a pair of powerful layups. Two free throws by Prigioni allowed Tau to keep a safe margin though, 63-55, at the end of the third period.

The hosts came out focused after the break scoring 7 straight points through baskets from Muoneke and Splitter and a three-pointer by Simas Jasaitis to stun Aris, which had been planning its comeback. The yellows remained scoreless for the first three minutes of the period, allowing Tau to amass a 15-point margin that seemed to be definitive. Even though Vladimer Boisa rose for a three-pointer, it was too late for rallying, as the hosts had their momentum already. Muoneke took advantage of the fact that the game was decided to take some shots and add easy points to his total, as Tau needed no more than a calm offense to keep the difference. With the outcome no longer in doubt, the hosts exploited Aris’s foul trouble to keep adding points, reaching a game-high 19-point lead, 88-69, with one minute to go. An acrobatic three-pointer by Terry and a nice layup by Massey prevented the local team from getting a 20-point margin, as a layup by Jasaitis closed the game with a comfortable 90-74 win that secured the first place of Group E.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Natxo Mendaza, Vitoria
No results found.
Attendance: 7400
By Quarter1234
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz22212027
Aris TT Bank24131819
End of Quarter1234
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz22436390
Aris TT Bank24375574
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 PRIGIONI, PABLO 22:46 16 3/4 2/6 4/4 2 3 5 4 4 2   1 1 1 21
8 RAKOCEVIC, IGOR 18:06 11 2/3 2/3 1/1       3   4     1 2 9
9 VIDAL, SERGI 21:54 7 1/2 1/3 2/2 1 3 4 2         1 2 11
10 PLANINIC, ZORAN 17:14 2 1/1       2 2 5   1         8
11 FERNANDEZ, LUCHO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 TELETOVIC, MIRZA 18:40 7 2/2 1/2           1 1     2 3 7
13 JASAITIS, SIMAS 25:54 7 2/3 1/3   1 2 3   1 2     1   5
15 SINGLETON, JAMES DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 SPLITTER, TIAGO 24:05 18 5/6   8/13 1 3 4 1 2 1 1   4 8 23
30 MUONEKE, GABE 21:20 10 4/4 0/1 2/2 1 3 4   1 1     2 2 13
33 MICKEAL, PETE 14:06 5 1/2 1/1     2 2 1   1 1       7
45 MCDONALD, WILL 15:55 7 2/5   3/5         2 1   1 5 4 1
Team           1 2 3     1       1 3
Totals 200:00 90 23/32 8/19 20/27 7 20 27 16 11 15 2 2 17 23 108
        71.9% 42.1% 74.1%
Head coach: SPAHIJA, NEVEN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Aris TT Bank
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 TERRY, REYSHAWN 25:38 8 1/3 2/3   1 2 3 2 3   1 1 1 1 13
8 WRIGHT, BRACEY 30:32 7 1/3 1/4 2/2 1   1   1 5     3 1 -3
9 KALAITZIS, GEORGIOS 16:05 2 1/1     1 2 3 6 1 1     4   7
10 ILIADIS, SAVVAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 BOISA, VLADIMER 12:29 5 1/3 1/2 0/2 1 1 2 1         4 4 3
13 MOTTOLA, HANNO 18:58 12 2/3 2/4 2/2 2 3 5 1   5     5 2 7
14 MASSEY, JEREMIAH 36:03 26 10/14 1/3 3/4   7 7   3 2   1 1 4 29
15 AGADAKOS, LAZAROS 12:30 4 2/2     1   1     2     2   1
16 TSALDARIS, DIMITRIOS 23:50 3   1/5         1   1     2   -3
18 KARADOLAMIS, DIMITRIOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
20 WASHINGTON, DARIUS 23:55 7 2/5 0/1 3/4 1 1 2 3 2 4 1     5 11
Team           1 2 3   1 1     1   2
Totals 200:00 74 20/34 8/22 10/14 9 18 27 14 11 21 2 2 23 17 67
        58.8% 36.4% 71.4%

Head Coaches

Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz
"I think we couldn't find the same good rhythm we found in the last two or three games, but I'm happy because I could count on all the players tonight. I'm not so happy with the defense we played in the last two minutes of the first period, but the rest of the things were good enough. We scored 90 points again, and we had the chance of having a deeper rotation and I used it to test some players and avoid playing only for the result, but to get some players involved like Mickeal and Vidal. Tau will go to Turkey to win, we must show we are a serious team and we cannot skip this one because of the fact we are already qualified. We won’t go there as tourists."
Aris TT Bank
"First of all I want to congratulate Tau for the win. We did a good job for some minutes during the game, we were able stay calm and into the game, but unfortunately we got into a hurry in some key moments and we lost our momentum. We need to play good for 40 minutes. I'm proud of this team. We played good basketball in the first three games. We still have a chance in the group to qualify and we will give our best next Wednesday."


Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz
"It was an important game for us to gain confidence. We finished first in our group and we will go to Istanbul with good feelings. Aris came to Vitoria with nothing to lose and that made them extremely dangerous. They came with the only aim of winning, but we prepared the game well and we were ready to face a tough game. The good new is that we have the full roster available and we can use more players in the rotation and reach the end of the game less tired. We don’t care about the team we will meet in the quarterfinals. Whoever it is, it will be tough one."
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz
"I felt some pain, but I think it was not a big risk to play tonight. I don't think it was bad to force my comeback in tonight's game. I don't know for how long I will feel pain in the ankle, so the only thing I can do is to stand it and try to give my best. I play at 100%, no matter the pain I feel. If I'm not ready for giving 100%, I won’t play, but I felt ready tonight. I'm happy we won tonight and remained unbeaten. Now that we secured the first place of the group we must stay focused and think only of the next domestic game, without putting so much pressure on ourselves and waiting to know which team we will face in the quarterfinals."
Aris TT Bank
"Tau is a very good team, a very experienced one. They know how to play at this stage of the competition, they were in the last three Final Fours and that gives them some extra value. We also have some experienced players, but I think we lost tonight because we lost concentration in the key moments of the game. They came out pretty strong in the last quarter, and then they kept playing focused when they got a 10-point lead, they kept playing systems and taking care of the shot clock to save the margin. I wish for them the best. We will try to make it to the next stage, we will fight although I recognize it's really difficult, but we will try to do it. If we fight, if we manage to win, we will be ok. If it's by 31 points, it would be incredible."
No results found.