The all-Spanish clash in Group A on Tuesday in Badalona between DKV Joventut and visiting Jabones Pardo Fuenlabrada fell on the side of the hosts, 87-82, in a game that was not decided until the last minute. Fuenlabrada struggled until the very last plays of the game, but the team seemed to be in front of a psychological barrier, as the hosts were always ahead by 3 or 4 points, margin that they managed to keep until the end of the duel. Maceo Baston was the best man for Joventut with 20 points, including 9 of 10 field goals, Nikola Radulovic added 16 while Rafa Jofresa, Antonio Bueno and Todd Fuller added 11 each. For the losers, Richard Scott nailed 19 and Francesc Solana contributed 15, while Walter Herrmann bagged 13. This win raises Joventut to a 2-1 record, while Fuenlabrada falls at 1-2.
The Spanish duel saw the light with Fuenlabrada rallying for a quick 2-5 edge, but Fuller put his team back in the game with a layup to make it 8-9. The guests were pacing the game, which led home coach Manel Comas to call a timeout, after which Joventut took off on a 10-0 run sparked by 5 straight points from Souley Drame. Joventut now led 22-15. Paco Martin became the catalyst for the guests then with 7 consecutive points, but the efficiency of both Fuller and Rafa Jofresa kept Joventut ahead, 27-24 after 10 minutes. Antonio Bueno emerged as the saving offensive figure for Joventut in the second quarter. Joventut was always ahead, but Fuenlabrada tried to fight its way back as both Martin and Francesc Solana would have 10 points by the break. It wasn't that easy, however, since Bueno had started his own scoring festival, boosting Joventut's lead to 36-27 in minute 15. The hosts were also outrebounding the guests 25-17 on the half. That was reflected in the score at the break, 47-39, as Bueno finished with 11 points in the second quarter.
Neither team was able to take control in the third quarter, so Joventut stayed ahead. Suddenly, however, a three by David Wood and a layup by Alvaro Palacios pulled Fuenlabrada within 50-48, After another Joventut timeout, Maceo Baston woke up and started dominating in the paint. Still, a three by Jose Antunez that made it 56-51 warned the hosts that Fuenlabrada was behind them and biting. The game proceeded in cycles as Joventut managed to forge six- or seven-point leads, only to see Fuenlabrada climb back and the process start again. The guests made their biggest move to close within 65-64 after 30 minutes. In the final period, Baston continued to be decisive for Joventut in the offesnive end, while Solana was in charge for Fuenlabrada. Baston's dunk left the score at 75-70 in minute 34, but those 6 minutes were like an eternity. The game advanced slowly but steadily, and Fuenlabrada was doing everything in its hands to finally cut that defict down, but the hosts seemed to find their place in that awkward rhythm, and never let go of the lead. Radulovic, Baston's partner on offense, hit 2 free throws for 81-76 with 1 minute to go, then Carles Marco hit the layup that answered a lot of doubts about who was going to be the winner. The superiority under the boards of the Catalans was also decisive (41-32), while in the last seconds, the game entered a fouling routine that only made Fuenlabrada's agony longer, despite the last-second jumper by Herrmann for the final 87-82.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002