Caprabo Lleida of Spain got its first home win and shook up Group D in the process on Tuesday by kocking off previously unbeaten Zadar 87-77 before an appreciative crowd at home in Spain. Caprabo rises to 2-2 in the standings, while Zadar tasted its first loss and falls back into a 3-1 tie for first place with Varese. Caprabo started strong, but Zadar never surrendered, and even rallied from 15 points behind in the second quarter. But the hosts got away in the last two quarters and allowed no further comebacks. Caprabo had antoher big contribution from forward AJ Bramlett, with 22 points in 30 minutes. Jaume Comas added 17 points while Sergio Ramos posted a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds and Alberto Angulo added 10 points and 2 blocked shots. Zadar, which paid for bad shooting percentage - 19 of 44 from two-point range, 43%, and 9 for 23 from three, 39% - got 25 points from top scorer Marko Popovic, 16 from Mladen Erjavec, 11 from Marko Samanic and 10 from Hrvoje Perincic.
Caprabo Lleida started with great intensity, thanks particularly to Bramlett, who blasted off for 13 points in a great first quarter. Lleida surprised Zadar on the offensive rebounds, earning many second shots. Zadar could not stop Lleida from getting an early seven-point lead, but Popvic and Samanic tried with a couple baskets. Ramos sank a big three to deepen the lead, and Lleida reached a double-figure advantage by the end of the quarter, 28-18. Lleida tried to blow away the guests in the second quarter, running ahead 37-22, but Bramlett sat with three foul troubles and Zadar saw its chance come through improved rebounding and better defense forcing Lleida into bad shots and turnovers. Popovic drilled 2 three-pointers in a row and the visitors' big run was started. It didn't finish until Zadar had outscored Caprabo 3-20 to tie the game 39-39, on a triple by Branimir Longin, and then take a 40-42 lead 1 minute before the half on Hrvoje Perincic's three. Lleida was shocked, but veteran Alberto Angulo sank a free throw to stop the bleeding. Still, Zadar reached intermission ahead 41-42.
The third quarter saw the teams alternate small leads as the game tempo slowed. Zadar was able to scoot ahead 57-63, what would be its highest lead all game, once again behind Popovic and Samanic. Again, Angulo got to the foul line for Lleida, ingniting a 9-0 run at the end of the quarter that included another basket by Bramlett as the hosts regained a 66-63 lead. Caprabo veteran Johnny Rogers was the man in the last quarter, when he scored 8 of his 9 points came in the first 3 minutes to give Lleida breathing room again. Comas sank 2 layups to complete a 12-2 run, and though Popovic tried to stop the slide for Zadar, when Ramos hit another three, the lead was at 81-65. Joventut's combined run from the end of the third period added up to 24-2 before a Perincic triple, but only 3 minutes were left then. Popovic hit for 4 points in a row, and as Mladen Erjavec added a three Zadar was down just 82-76 with almost 2 minutes to go. But Zadar's defense lost guard Berni Alvarez on the perimeter, where he sank the three (85-76) that cancelled every Croatian hope.
Tuesday, November 5, 2002