Zielona Gora celebrates its first Euroleague win
Stelmet Zielona Gora made history by holding off Montepaschi Siena 73-65 for its first ever Turkish Airlines Euroleague victory on Friday. The win improved Zielona Gora to 1-2 in Group C, while the Italian champions fell to 0-3 and last place of the standings. The hosts last trailed midway through the first quarter, but never managed to pull away. However, led by Lukasz Koszarek and Vladimir Dragicevic, Zielona Gora stayed ahead before Przemyslaw Zamojski sealed the deal with 7 points in the final half minute. Koszarek paced the Polish champs with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Christian Eyenga collected 13 points plus 9 rebounds, while Dragicevic scored 12 and Zamojski finished with 9 in victory. Josh Carter led the visitors with 16 points, Daniel Hackett had 12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists and Taylor Rochestie scored 11.
First quarter: Eyenga gets Zielona Gora going
Eyenga started things with a floater, and Dragicevic scored a driving layup for the hosts to open the game. On the other end, Carter opened Siena's tally with a triple, then added a jumper for 4-5. But Craig Brackins and Koszarek each scored a layup to put Zielona Gora back in front, before Eyenga scored from close range. But against the hosts' zone defense, Carter countered with another triple to make it 10-10, and Jeff Viggiano hit one from behind the arc, too. But Eyenga used his athletic ability to score twice before the quarter's end, including a mouthwatering alley-oop dunk after a perfect Zamojski pass, and Zielona Gora held a 16-13 lead after the first quarter.
Second quarter: Hosts finish strong for halftime lead
Neither team managed to pull away in the second quarter, either. Montepaschi tied it at 18-18 with a triple from Kim English and a dunk from Tomas Ress. The hosts stayed in front with a jumper from Walker, and a runner off the glass from David Barlow. When Walker hit from long range, Zielona Gora grabbed a 25-20 edge, but Carter immediately answered with his third triple to keep the hosts from running away. With couple of defensive stops in between, Barlow and Brackins scored with put-backs for the hosts. Eyenga followed that up with a reverse layup after a lovely assist from Dragicevic, before returning the favor, and assisting Dragicevic for an easy two, and 33-25. In the final minute of the half, Hackett and Koszarek traded long jumpers, as Zielona Gora took a 35-27 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Zielona Gora stays ahead as Siena lingers
The visitors had a good opening to the second half, sparked by a short jumper and a layup from Rochestie, and with a triple from Hackett, Siena closed within 35-34. After a timeout by the hosts, back-to-back jumpers from Brackins and Dragicevic snapped the run and kept Zielona Gora ahead. But Montepaschi tied things up midway through the third quarter with a dunk from Benjamin Ortner, and a three-pointer from Ress, 39-39. The hosts created some breathing room again by going 5 of 6 from the foul line, and with Koszarek nailing a triple in transition the margin reached 47-40. But Hackett with free throws, and Othello Hunter with a big put-back dunk kept Siena in range; the hosts led 49-44 after three quarter.
Fourth quarter: Zamojski seals a historic win
Barlow and Carter traded threes in the beginning of the fourth quarter, and Koszarek drove to the hoop to make it 54-49. With every possession becoming more important, Viggiano had a two-handed fastbreak dunk, but Koszarek hit a triple on the other end. Ortner and Dragicevic traded buckets from close range, before Rochestie hit a triple from the right corner to make it 59-56. But Koszarek answered with a three-pointer, and Dragicevic scored an easy layup, 64-56. Montepaschi cut the deficit through Hackett from close range, and Ress from way downtown. Dragicevic made it 66-61 with a layup after a pretty assist from Zamojski, and the margin remained unchanged after Hackett hit both free throws for Siena, and Zamojski did the same for Zielona Gora with 32 seconds to go. Zamojski hit two more foul shots 16 seconds later, and the same player scored a fastbreak layup-plus-foul to seal a historic win.
Friday, November 1, 2013