A duel between undefeated Group C teams on Wednesday, ended with a 50-69 road win for visiting Real Madrid at Pau-Orthez. The first half was close all the way and Clint Harrison even managed to tie the game at 31-31 in the first play of the second half. But after that, it was all Madrid, as the scoring of Igor Rakocevic and Axel Hervelle allowed the guests to take off for good. With the victory, Real Madrid shared the top of the Group C ladder with a 2-0 record. On the other hand, Pau drops to 1-1 to meet Unicaja in the middle positions. Rakocevic led Madrid with 19 points, Felipe Reyes added 17, Louis Bullock added 15 and Hervell posted 12. For Pau-Orthez, T.J. Lux was the best scorer with 17 points and Lonnie Cooper added 11.
Real Madrid got off to a quick start as Reyes and Bullock found the bottom of the net for 2-6 start. Pau-Orthez called a quick timeout to fix things and after it, Artur Drozdov drove the lane for a basket. The hosts started playing a smothering man-to-man trap defense that forced Real Madrid to turn the ball over. But Madrid paid with the same currency and soon Reyes found the basket with a five-meter jumper that made it 5-12. Cooper dished a nifty assist to Lux in the paint, after which the Pau big man added more baskets in a personal 6-0 run that pulled Pau within 11-12. Madrid used a timeout but lost the ball to another fine Pau defense, but Reyes found last basket of the quarter to keep the guests ahead 11-14 after 10 minutes.
Xane D'Almeida risked a running shot that opened the scoring in the second quarter, but Reyes kept dominated the paint as Madrid stayed in front, 13-19. The defenses dominated for a couple minutes until Cooper drilled a triple from the right corner on the shot clock buzzer to make it 16-19 and pump up the fans. Lux found the basket soon, leaving the difference at 18-19, but triples by Hervelle and Rakocevic neutralized another by Cooper to force a new Pau timeout at 21-27. Hervelle soon added another three-pointer and Lux then became the only source of life for the hosts, scoring 6 straight points in the paint together. Added to a free throw by Thierry Rupert, Pau was able to get as close as 28-31 by halftime.
Harrison opened the second half tying the game with a layup for 31-31, but Bullock and Mickael Gelabale replied to a new Lux basket to keep Madrid ahead. When Bullock then made a three-point play, the guests were in charge again at 33-38. Rakocevic widened that gap with a triple as he was falling, forcing another Pau timeout. But even after Harrison hit 2 of 3 free throws, Madrid soared to a new 10-point lead led by Rakocevic. In fact, those were Pau's last points in the quarter as Madrid finished it with a 0-12 run over 4 minutes, inlcuding two straight baskets by Hervelle, that broke the game open with a 35-53 scoreboard after 30 minutes.
Despite a 4-0 start by Pau to the last period thanks to Harrison and Rupert, Madrid reacted fast. A new triple by Rakocevic and a fastbreak layup by Hervelle restored a 39-58 edge. Despite the wide gap, Pau never surrendered, but rather challenged Madrid on defense and took risks on offense. Madrid did the same, however, fighting for every loose ball as the lead soared to 20 points, 42-63. The last minutes of the game did little to influence the outcome as Madrid headed back to Spain with its second win of the season.
Wednesday, November 9, 2005