Hemofarm showed newcomer Nancy of France why it has been a two-time ULEB Cup semifinalist by taking a 93-82 home victory in their Group A showdown in Vrsac, Serbia on Tuesday. Hemofarm's victory meant a 3-2 tie between the two teams, either for first or second place, depending on the subsequent result of Lietuvos Rytas. Veteran forward Milenko Topic paced the win by drilling 4 triples in the first half, when Hemofarm worked to open up double-digit leads. The hosts expanded those to 20 points in the third quarter and managed the scoreboard the rest of the way. Topic and Velimir Radinovic led the winners with 18 points each, while Nebojsa Joksimovic added 16 and Predrag Suput 15. Nancy got 20 points from Daniel McClintock, 18 points from Tariq Kirksay, 16 from Victor Samnick and 10 from Maxime Zianveni.
Although Suput opened the scoring, Nancy set the pace, using points by Kirksay, McClintock and Samnick to race ahead 2-8. Hemofarm was testing its long-distance accuracy, which was found lacking, while the guests were scoring from the paint. McClintock continued to be an enigma to the Hemofarm defense, joining Deron Hayes for 5 straight points that pushed Nancy further ahead, 8-15. Suput, however, was ready with a response. His 5 straight points sparked a 13-4 run by the hosts, and by the time Topic had hit back-to-back triples, Hemofarm had taken a 21-19 lead. Topic wasn't done, however, and added his third in 2 minutes to beat the first-quarter buzzer with his team leading 26-23. Stefan Markovic kept Hemofarm ahead with early layups in the second quarter, but Samnick, Zianveni and Darnell Banks kept Nancy close. The teams traded baskets and intensity until 36-35, when Hemofarm launched a new run of 10-0 that featured Topic's fourth bomb from the arc and supplied a 46-35 lead. Banks and Joksimovic traded triples then, before Radinovic netted a pair of free throws as Hemofarm took to the lockers leading 51-40.
Hemofarm went for the kill to start the second half as Vladan Vukosavljevic and Joksimovic scored baskets before Milos Borisov fired in back-to-back triples to boost the difference as high as 61-44. McClintock was keeping Nancy alive with his points under the rim but soon Miljan Rakic struck from downtown, while Joksimovic, Topic and Vukosavljevic combined on an 8-0 run that fairly put the game out of reach at 72-50 midway through the third quarter. Hayes and Samnick showed the game was still being contested, however, by leading Nancy on an 0-8 that helped the guests cut the difference to 75-58 after 30 minutes. Nancy's comeback continued with Samnick slamming and Hayes fastbreaking to start the final quarter. When Kirksay added his layup, the gap was all the way down to 11 points, 75-64. By the time Samnick scored on an offensive rebound and McClintock sank a jumper, the Nancy run was 0-10 and the guests were as close as 75-68. Finally, Suput scored a layup for Hemofarm's first points in more than 3 minutes, but soon Kirksay strung together a pair of layups to keep Nancy within 79-73 just under the five-minute mark. Before he or his Nancy teammates could score again, however, Markovic, Radinovic and Suput combined on 6 unanswered points to reestablish a double-digit lead at 85-73 with 3 minutes left. Kirksay answered with his 4 straight points but Radinovic scored after spectacular offensive move and Hemofarm was on its way up with another victory in Group A.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006