BC Kyiv send a message that echoed all around the continent by edging Benetton Tamoil 73-77 in Treviso, Italy, in both team's opening game in ULEB Cup's Group H on Tuesday night. Kyiv, a newcomer in the competition, joins a list of Week 1 Group H winners also featuring ASK Riga and Artland Dragons. Meanwhile, Benetton needs to start winning right away to keep its elimination rounds hopes alive in its first-ever ULEB CUp appearance. Marcus Faison led the winners with 17 points. Pooh Jeter added 14, Artur Drozdov had 11, including consecutive triples to put Kyiv ahead for good midway through the final period, while Marko Maravic got 10 points for the winners. Mario Austin led Benetton with 25 points, Nana Mensah-Bonsu posted a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds and Lionel Chalmers scored 11 points for the hosts, who led 54-51 after three quarters. Drozdov led a 5-15 run that sealed the outcome down the stretch, as Kyiv held off a shy Benetton comeback to register a well-deserved win.
Kyiv started the game with strong defense, never afraid of the challenge, as a three-pointer by Jeter gave the guests a 4-5 edge. Matteo Soragna answered from downtown, but Faison and Jeter led a 0-9 run that allowed Kyiv to regain the lead, 7-14. Even when Chalmers stepped up for Benetton, he only managed to get his team within 11-16 after 10 minutes. Marco Mordente tried to get Benetton going with a triple, but Marko Maravic immediately answered in the same way while former Benetton player Manu Markoishvili helped Kyiv to stay ahead, 14-23, early in the second quarter. Giuliano Maresca and Austin joined the three-point festival, while a very active Soragna brought Benetton back into the game, 30-32. It was not enough, however, as the guests still managed to keep a 32-37 margin at halftime. Maravic kept pacing Kyiv after the break, as the guests kept a 36-41 lead after 23 minutes. Benetton soon improved its defense, however, and found its usual go-to guy in Chalmers. A three-pointer by Chalmers ignited a 9-0 run that he capped with another shot from downtown to give Benetton its biggest lead of the night, 47-42. Jeter, Drozdov and Faison had other idead in mind, however, as Kyiv survived a tough situation and managed to get within 54-51 after 30 minutes. An outstanding Faison completed the Kyiv comeback, 55-56, with 7 minutes to go. Benetton stull managed to tie the game, 59-59, with an outstanding Austin, but Drozdov broke the game open with back-to-back three-pointers, 59-65. Jacob Jaacks added a free throw for a 59-66 Kyiv lead with under 3 minutes to go. Austin singlehandedly brought Benetton within 68-72, but free throw accuracy allowed Kyiv to leave Treviso with a convincing road win.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007