There is a new co-leader in Group C and its name is Idea Slask Wroclaw! The only Polish representative in the Euroleague is undefeated still after seizing its first road victory of the season with a solid 53-67 decision against Alba in Berlin on Wednesday. With first-week MVP Lynn Greer suddenly heating up, Slask broke a tie early in the third quarter and went on to lead by as much as 23 points to go 2-0 and join Efes Pilsen as co-leader in the group. Alba fell to 0-2 and heard the disappointment of its fans. Only six Slask players scored points, but with 21 from Adam Wojcik and 17 from Greer, it was plenty considering all the trouble the visitors' defense caused Alba. Vladimir Petrovic scored 14 points and Mithat Demirel 12, but Alba's big men were stopped cold by Slask's zone defense and never got in the game.
Slask right from the start tried to irritate Alba with a zone defense, but the hosts missed too many shots themselves on offense to earn fruits of that. Slask's 7-9 lead after 6 minutes was based mainly on 7 points scored inside by Adam Wojcik, contrasted by a three-pointer from Vladimir Petrovic and 4 more Alba points by Jovo Stanojevic and Szymon Szewczyk. Greer, the opening-week MVP of the Euroleague, scored his first points on free throws, adding 2 more on the siren as Idea Slask held a 9-15 lead after 10 minutes. Alba clearly was struggling on offense against the zone, and in the last 4 minutes of the first quarter only counted 2 points from Szewczyk.
After the quarter break, it was the same story; Alba missing from outside against the zone. Talin Tein, Maceij Zielinski and Wojcik, meanwhile, finished the resulting fastbreaks for a 9-21 lead. Finally a three-pointer off the hands of Mithat Demirel signalled an end to Alba's trouble. Despite Tein, Zielinski and Wojcik finding some more points to maintain the lead until 16-27, now came Slask's turn to struggle against Alba's defense, which started to take control. Marko Pesic and Petrovic score three-pointers to pull Alba within 22-27. Then Petrovic, Stanojevic and DeJuan Collins tied the score a minute before halftime, 27-27. Pesic's free throw was the last word in a low-scoring first half, allowing host Alba to go into the lockers with its only lead, 28-27. Slask had gone 4 minutes then without a point. Wojcik was the top scorer on the floor with 11 points, while Petrovic had 8 for Alba.
Alba's lead did not last long. Greer and Wojcik open the secnd half with layups, though a Petrovic triple meant a 31-31 tie. The ball moved up and down the court, faster than in the first half. Dominik Tomczyk and Radoslaw Hyzy put Slask ahead again 33-35 and then Greer exploded for 5 more points as the visitors started pulling away to 33-40. Alba lacked ideas on offense and missed three-pointers, while Slask continued its run with a three-pointer by Tomczyk and 4 more points by Hyzy and Wojcik for 35-48. Petrovic answered with a rare three-pointer for Alba, but Tomczyk and Greer were hotter, giving Slask a huge 39-57 lead at the end of 30 minutes. Greer scored 11 points in the third quarter alone.
Alba looked demoralized after the third-quarter takeover by Slask. The guests didn't need to score much in the fourth, because Alba didn't either. Baskets by Zielinski and Tein are enough to put the lead at 23 points, 44-67, as Alba kept missing, threes and free throws, and commiting turnovers. Only Demirel, with 7 consecutive points, and Collins with a last basket were able to shrink the final result to 53-67, but that still did not go over well with the Berlin crowd, though a pocker of about 200 fans from Poland were having the time of their lives.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Horst Schneider, Berlin