Tau Ceramica showed it is one of the top candidates to win Group A by downing Prokom Trefl 66-82 in Sopot, Poland on Thursday night. Tau improved to 2-1 and joins a five-way atop the Group A standings. Meanwhile, Prokom dropped to 0-3 and registered its second home loss in its Euroleague season. Pablo Prigioni and Igor Rakocevic led the winners each with 15 points. Mirza Teletovic, Zoran Planinic and Tiago Splitter each added 12 for Tau. Thomas Van den Spiegel and Milan Gurovic each had 17 points for Prokom. Van den Spiegel added 14 rebounds for a big double-double. Prigioni and Rakocevic led Tau in the first half, as the guests reached the break with a 36-44 edge. Prokom went scoreless in the next 5 minutes, while an outstanding Splitter led a game-breaking 0-14 run that gave Tau a 36-54 lead. Tau soon boosted its margin to 40-69 late in the third quarter and even when Van den Spiegel led a wild Prokom rally, it happened to be too little, too late for the hosts.
Tomas Masiulis opened fire with a three-pointer, as Tau struggled to score in a cold start of the game until Rakocevic fired in a five-meter shot. Prokom managed to lock the defensive board in the opening minutes but lacked concentration in offense. Teletovic fired in one from downtown, as Tau finally managed to get Splitter involved when his free throw gave the guests a 4-6 edge. Teletovic kept pacing Tau with a power layup and even when Donatas Slanina buried a four-meter shot, Planinic answered from downtown for a 6-11 Tau lead. Gurovic found his first basket that Pete Mickeal matched with an effective move in the low post. Planinic stayed unstoppable with a put-back layup while Gurovic fed Van den Spiegel for a dunk to get Prokom within 10-15. Rakocevic scored in the paint while Travis Best hit a mid-range jumper and soon added a driving layup. Planinic provided a highlight with a smooth driving basket to which Mickeal added a layup for a 14-21 Tau lead. Free throws by Van Den Spiegel and a wide open triple by Slanina got Prokom within 19-21 after 10 minutes.
Rakocevic fired in a long jumper early in the second quarter but Best found Van den Spiegel for a dunk to keep Prokom close. Prigioni beat the hosts' zone defense with a three-pointer and soon added another one in a fast break opportunity to make it an eight-point game, 21-29. Ruben Wolkowyski came off the Prokom bench and immediately hit a jump hook that Teletovic erased with free throws. Tau gave Prokom trouble with its 2-3 zone defense while Sergi Vidal buried a triple for an 11-point Tau edge, 23-34. Wolkowyski answered from downtown, as Tau kept trying fullcourt pressure after free throws made. Gurovic stepped up with a driving layup that Will McDonald matched with a power dunk. Gurovic scored in the low post while Christos Harissis buried a triple off the dribble to give Prokom hope at 33-38. Prigioni fed McDonald in a Tau's trademark high post pick-and-roll and then buried his third one from downtown, but Filip Dylewicz and Gurovic kept the hosts within 36-43. A free throw by McDonald fixed the score at 36-44 at halftime.
Prokom improved its defense after the break but a technical foul on Gurovic allowed Planinic and Splitter to give Tau a 36-48 lead. Tau had regained its momentum, as Mickeal buried a five-meter shot and dominated the defensive board now while Rakocevic made free throws for a 36-52 lead. Prokom went back to zone defense but Splitter stepped up with a jump hook to make the hosts call timeout at 36-54. Splitter made a free throw while Teletovic hit a corner three-pointer that broke the game open at 36-58, after a 0-14 run. Prokom went scoreless for 5 minutes uril Krzysztof Roszyk found an easy layup. Rakocevic answered with a fadeaway jumper, Splitter scored in transition and Planinic added a fast break layup for another game-high lead, 38-62. Prokom struggled at both ends now while Splitter provided a highlight with a huge dunk over Van den Spiegel. Best banked in a mid-range jumper that Splitter erased in the other end. Planinic's free throw made it a 29-point game, 40-69, as Prokom called another timeout. Van den Spiegel got Prokom within 42-69 after 30 minutes.
The outcome was already clear but Tau wanted even more. Roszyk made free throws but Rakocevic erased with a driving layup. Prokom slowly improved its defense with Van den Spiegel in the middle, as Tau tried to use long possessions to finish its good game as soon as possible. Gurovic followed free throws with an eay layup, but only got Prokom within 48-71. Dylewicz dunked it off a midcourt steal, making Tau call timeout at 50-71. Teletovic scored in the low post to get Tau back in track. Van den Spiegel shined with 8 unanswered points, including a two-handed dunk in traffic and a three-point play to get Prokom even closer, 60-73. Prokom got as close at 64-73, but another triple by Prigioni silenced the crowd and sealed the outcome. Tau managed to held off a wild comeback and escape from Hala Olivia with a valuable road win.
Thursday, November 8, 2007