Cholet Basket of France got its first win of the Eurocup season the hard way, going on the road to defeat KK Cibona by 90-95 in Zagreb, Croatia on Tuesday, thereby rejoining the Last 16 race in Group G. Cholet is now 1-2 and will be one victory out of second place headed into the second half of the regular season. Cibona dropped to 0-3 and must win or face elimination soon. Cholet's 95 points set its Eurocup scoring high in a non-overtime game after the club's seven seasons, 45 games in the competition. Six players accounted for all but 5 of those points: Marcus Goree with 20, Travon Bryant with 19, A.J. Slaughter with 18, Derrick Obasohan with 16, Terrell Everett with 9 and Rudy Jomby with 8. Terrell had 11 of Cholet's 20 assists. Cibona wasn't far behind in scoring and made up deficits as high as 14 points to challenge - but never re-take - the lead. Veterans Davor Kus and Andrija Zizic led the hosts with 24 points each. Kus added 6 assists with perfect 4-for-4 three-point and 8-for-8 free throw shooting. Tomislav Zubcic followed them with 14 points while D.J. Strawberry had 10.
Goree got Cholet going with a three-point play and another layup that led to a quick 4-7 lead, but it wasn't long before Zizic and Demond Carter scored back-to-back baskets to put the hosts in front, 10-9. Cholet forced two ties after that until newcomer Obasohan's 5 points in a row gave the visitors back a 15-18 lead. Despite a second layup for Pavle Marcinkovic of Cibona, Everett matched Obasohan's previous shot from downtown to keep Cholet up 17-21 after 10 minutes. Goree and Bryant kept pushing their team early in the second quarter, while 5 points in a row by Kus let Cibona keep as close as 24-27. Soon, back-to-back three-pointers by Jomby and Slaughter upped the difference to 27-36. Jomby soon pushed Cholet ahead by double digits at the free throw line and Karim Souchu supplied the first half's bigges lead, 31-43, from downtown. Ante Masic and Marko Jagodik did what they could for Cibona, but the visitors from Cholet still led 36-47 at the half.
Goree's two-pointer meant a new high lead for Cholet, 36-49, to start the second half. Jomby upped it to 40-54 with a triple before Zubcic matched him and soon Kus buried a pair of his own shots from beyond the arc to suddenly cut the difference to 53-58. Zubcic then dunked to complete a 15-4 run for Cibona, although Bryant and Slaughter answered back with baskets for Cholet. Despite 5 free throws by Kus before the end of the quarter, giving him 14 points in 10 minutes, another three-pointer by Obasohan meant Cholet still led 6 4-69 after 30 minutes. Obasohan struck again from the arc early in the fourth, but Strawberry copied him for Cibona at 69-72. That was too close for Goree, who lifted Cholet with 5 points in a row before Bryant blasted a long-range shot to restore the visitors' 10-point lead at 70-80. It didn't take long, however, for Cibona to roar back, with Zizic and Strawberry sharing all the points in a 9-5 burst before Zubcic made it 81-85 with just over 2 minutes left. Goree and Zizic then traded baskets, as did Everett and Zubcic, although the latter's came with a free throw to make it 86-89 with 56 seconds left. Obasohan, Goree and Slaughter made 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch, however, as Cholet took a valuable first victory back home to France.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012