Scavolini Pesaro won its second game of the Euroleague season at Adecco Asvel Basket in France on Wednesday, 80-63, and catapulted itself among the leaders in Group D. Thanks notably to a good defense in the second half, Scavolini was able to pull away from its hosts and win handily. Scavolini raised its record to 2-1 with its second straight victory after an opening loss to Ural Great. Asvel suffered its second straight loss. Melvin Booker led the winners with 20 points, Joseph Blair added 16 and 12 rebounds, and Miroslav Beric shot in 11. For Asvel, newly-signed center Nikola Vujcic scored 16, Nikola Radulovic 14 and Thalamus McGhee 10.
The French hosts started strong, leading 9-2 after four minutes, mainly thanks to Arsène Ade-Mensah and Nikola Radulovic, focused on defense and able to initiate fastbreaks with their steals. Joseph Blair and Miroslav Beric were scoreless during the first eight minutes of the game as Scavolini could not prevent the Asvel from setting its own pace, 13-8. With a three-pointer by Melvin Booker and a hook shot by Blair, however, Pesaro took the lead in the last minute of the quarter, 13-14, but ASVEL's new point guard, Simon Petrov, scored a fade away jumper with fifteen seconds to play to put his team on top 15-14 after 10 minutes.
A shootout in the early second quarter saw Beric and Larry Middleton answer Asvel's Kyle Hill, while Nikola Vujcic, another new ASVEL player, started to show why he is one the top European inside players. With Blair on the bench, Vujcic hit two consecutive baskets underneath the rim for a 22-19 Asevel lead after 14 minutes. Scavolini then decided to set a zone defense and this decision turned out to be a good one. Not only did Asvel not manage to score even one point in the last three and a half minutes of the quarter, but also Pesaro found its rhythm on offense. With five Silvio Gigena points and three consecutive fouls drawn by Marko Tusek, the Italian club put its hands on the game, leading 35-30 at the half time.
Using a zone defense to protect Thalamus McGhee, who got an early third foul, Asvel managed to prevent Pesaro from scoring more than two points in the first four minutes after halftime and, on a four-meter baseline jumper by Radulovic, came back to 34-37. But, immediately Scavolini reacted and relied on a Blair and Gigena to take the biggest lead of the game so far, 39-47. Taking advantage of a big amount of missed opened shots and turnovers by ASVEL, Pesaro finished the period perfectly with six points in a row by Booker and a 44-54 edge.
Blair opened the final quarter on a dramatic reverse dunk and gave a 12-point lead to his team, 44-56. The play symbolised the domination of the Italian team in this period. With a three-point play by Fabio Zanelli and a long range shot by Beric, Pesaro seemed to have put an end to any kind of suspense after only three minutes (46-62).
Wednesday, October 24, 2001