In a rematch of last season's Eurocup third place game, Benetton Basket registered its first win in difficult Group G by edging Cedevita 86-87 in overtime in Zagreb, Croatia on Tuesday. Benetton and Cedevita now join Bayern Munich in a three-way tie for second place in Group G at 1-2, two wins behind undefeated leader Spartak St. Petersburg. Vlad Moldoveanu led the winners with 19 points on 5-of-5 triples. Jeff Adrien and Twaun Moore each added 13 while Sani Becirovic and Massimo Bulleri had 12 apiece for Benetton. Miro Bilan led Cedevita with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Matjaz Smodis added 17 points while reigning Eurocup MVP Dontaye Draper had 16 for the hosts, that opened the game with a 10-0 run and led 25-16 after 10 minutes. Moore led a 0-12 Benetton run that gave Benetton its first lead, 32-33. Benetton extended its margin to 48-53 right after the break but an 8-0 run allowed Cedevita to regain the lead for the best part of the second half. A dunk by Adrien, however, sent the game to overtime, 74-74. Bulleri and Becirovic shined in the extra period but Draper and Bilan allowed Cedevita to have a chance, 86-87. Alessandro Gentile missed free throws with 17 seconds to go but Draper could not score in the game's final possession.
Bilan got Cedevita going with a dunk and Draper sank a jumper for a 5-0 lead. Benetton went scoreless in the opening 2 minutes, while a layup by Bilan and a three-pointer by Draper made the guests call timeout at 10-0. Moore stepped up with a layup while Bilan and Gentile traded baskets for a 12-4 score. Gino Cuccarolo scored down low but an unstoppable Bilan matched that with free throws. Brian Scalabrine sank foul shots but a three-pointer by Chris Owens restored a 17-8 Cedevita margin. Moore and Adrien made free throws but Smodis struck twice from downtown for a 23-14 score. Becirovic found his first points but a jumper by Vedran Princ gave Cedevita a 25-16 lead after 10 minutes. Marino Bazdaric and Marko Car shined early in the second quarter but a three-pointer by Moldoveanu kept the guests within 30-21. Bilan scored down low but Moldoveanu struck again from downtown and a layup by Bulleri brought Benetton within 32-28. Cedevita called timeout but Moore followed a layup with a triple to complete the guests' comeback, 32-33, after a 0-12 run. Chris Warren and Moldoveanu traded baskets and a three-pointer by Draper restored a 37-35 Cedevita edge. Bulleri joined the three-point shootout but a jumper by Smodis and another triple by Draper made it 42-38. Moldoveanu - who else? - nailed his third shot from downtown but a layup by Warren gave the hosts a 44-41 edge at the break.
Benetton found a go-to guy in Gentile, who followed a layup-plus-foul with a three-pointer for a 44-47 edge right after the break. Car sank a jumper and Smodis added a put-back layup to make Cedevita regain the lead, 48-47. It didn't last long, however, as free throws by Andrea de Nicolao and Becirovic ignited a 0-6 run that Scalabrine capped with a layup for a 48-53 Benetton lead. Vedran Princ and Car stepped up to make the guests stop the game at 52-53. Owens split free throws and dunked it and Bilan soon gave Cedevita a 56-53 edge, after an 8-0 run. Moldoveanu sank his fourth triple and Moore erased Warren's jumper with a dunk but free throws by Princ gave Cedevita a 60-58 edge after 30 minutes. Bilan kept pacing Cedevita early in the fourth quarter, as Benetton went scoreless for almost 3 minutes. Meanwhile, a jumper by Car made it a seven-point game, 65-58. Adrien rescued Cedevita with a three-point play and a layup, forcing the hosts to call timeout, 65-63, with 6 minutes left. Smodis and Bazdaric scored around the basket but Moldoveanu followed free throws with a triple for a 69-68 score. Smodis hit free throws and bettered Bulleri's layup with a triple for a 74-70 Cedevita edge. Bulleri did not miss from the foul line and a dunk by Adrien tied it, 74-74. Cedevita had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation but Gentile blocked Car's last-second shot.
Owens stepped up with a layup early in overtime but free throws by Becirovic quickly tied it at 76-76. Bazdaric did not miss from the foul line but back-to-back baskets by Adrien gave Benetton a 78-80 edge. Bilan took over with a three-point play but free throws by Becirovic provided another lead change, 81-82, with 1:48 to go. Cedevita missed the chance to go ahead in a three-chance offense and Bulleri pulled the trigger from downtown gave Benetton an 81-85 edge with a minute left. Draper scored off a timeout, Bulleri missed a jumper and Draper split free throws for a 84-85 Cedevita deficit with 24 seconds left. Becirovic and Draper traded free throws but Gentile missed both attempts. It all came down the final play but Draper missed from downtown at the buzzer.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011