2008-09Regular SeasonRound 4
December 16, 2008 CET: 20:00
Local time: 20:00 DOCKS OCÉANE

Benetton Basket Tamoil retained its unbeaten record and roared into the Last 16 from Group C by holding off host Le Havre for an 76-82 victory in France on Tuesday. The victory by Benetton, now 4-0, actually settled the matter in Group C, because it also allowed BC Khimki (3-1) to qualify. The only drama left is which of them will finish first or whether Le Havre, at 0-4, can get a victory in the last two games. The hosts certainly tried at home on Tuesday, climbing back from 17 points down to within 5 in the closing minutes before time ran out. Domen Lorbek hit 6 of 8 three-point shots on his way to 21 points to lead Benetton. Radoslav Rancik put up 16 points and 7 rebounds, Bobby Dixon 15 and 6 assists, while Andrea Renzi chipped in 10 points for the winners. T.J. Thompson and Fabien Causeur led Le Havre with 17 points each, while Marcus Slaughter posted a double-double of 16 and 12 rebounds while Bingo Merriex scored 13.

Almost 3 minutes passed without scoring before Brian Laing pumped in a triple and Causeur the next 4 points to rocker Le Havre to a 7-0 advantage. Gary Neal and Matteo Soragna erased most of that, however, with back-to-back triples. Slaughter joined Le Havre's attack with a three-point play the hard way and Causeur's next shot from deep made it 15-10. Merriex joined the three-point party at 18-12, but Lorbek and Rancik finished the quarter strong by pulling Benetton within 20-19. Renzi's first basket to start the second quarter equalled Benetton's first lead, but Le Havre wasn't happy and took it back on Rudy Jomby's two-pointer and Slaughter's dunk. Dixon tied it 24-24 on a triple, but Jomby copied him to keep Le Havre a step in front , but only until a dunk by Renzi and a follow-up triple by Lorbek sent Benetton in front again, 30-33. Lorbek drilled another from deep, but two Laing layups and a Causeur triple later and Le Havre was ahead again, 37-36. Lorbek would give Benetton another lead on a three-point basket-plus-free throw before Causeur beat the buzzer with a put-back to seal a 41-41 halftime score.

Benetton went inside to Sandro Nicevic, Rancik and Dixon to blast ahead 41-47 right after the break. Lorbek's next long-range launch and another by Dixon had the visitors flirting with a double-digit lead at 46-55, but the feeling lasted only briefly as Merriex did his own back-to-back act on the three-point arc, drawing Le Havre within 52-55. It was a shootout for sure as Lorbek answered from deep, and this time when Dixon followed suit, Benetton was indeed in double-digit territory, 52-62. That fact and some stellar Benetton defense seemed to break Le Havre's spirit as the visitors' lead quickly climbed, on Renzi layups and yet another Lorbek bomb, to 55-71 after 30 minutes. But Le Havre's spirit was far from broken. Some of their own stellar defense.plus scoring by Causeur, T.J. Thompson and Merriex quickly lowered the difference to single digits midway through the fourth quarter. The hosts kept holding Benetton to just a pair of baskets in almost 7 minutes, until Thompson's three-point play made it 70-75 - the end of a 15-4 run. Rancik and Slaughter traded baskets then, but when Dixon bombed from deep to open the 38th minute, Benetton was back. Rankic's next layup restored that 10-point lead at 72-82, and Benetton allowed only a free throw until the game's last play, by which time the visitors were already celebrating passage to the Last 16.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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Attendance: 0
By Quarter1234
STB Le Havre20211421
Benetton Basket19223011
End of Quarter1234
STB Le Havre20415576
Benetton Basket19417182
STB Le Havre
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 GAILLOU, XAVIER DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 CAUSEUR, FABIEN 35:46 17 3/6 3/3 2/2 3 4 7 2   1     1 4 25
6 JOMBY, RUDY 25:36 6 1/1 1/4 1/2 1 2 3     1     2 2 4
7 MERRIEX, BINGO 38:01 13 0/3 4/9 1/2 1 8 9 2 1 1       2 17
9 THOMPSON, TJ 40:00 17 6/9 1/6 2/2 2   2 7 2 3     2 3 18
10 SLAUGHTER, MARCUS 36:00 16 7/12   2/3 5 7 12 3 1 7 3   2 6 26
11 PITARD, GEDEON DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 ZERBO, FREJUS 5:59                         1   -1
14 LAING, BRIAN 18:38 7 2/8 1/3   1 2 3 2   1 2   4   1
Team           1 3 4     1         3
Totals 200:00 76 19/39 10/25 8/11 14 26 40 16 4 15 5 0 12 17 93
        48.7% 40% 72.7%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Benetton Basket
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 MUHAMMED, ALI 19:00 15 1/2 4/6 1/2 1 2 3 6 1 2     2 5 22
5 WOOD, DASHAUN 28:26 2 1/4 0/5     1 1 3 2     2 1   -3
7 SORAGNA, MATTEO 23:20 3 0/1 1/4     2 2 1 1       2 1 2
8 LORBEK, DOMEN 29:33 21 1/2 6/8 1/1 1 3 4 3 1 1     3 2 24
10 NICEVIC, SANDRO 20:12 4 2/8     2 1 3 2 1 1         3
11 RULLO, ROBERTO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 RANCIK, RADOSLAV 28:41 16 7/13 0/1 2/2 3 4 7 3 1 1   2 3 1 15
14 NEAL, GARY 18:35 7 2/4 1/4   2 1 3 2 1       3 1 6
16 CAZZOLATO, NICOLO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17 MARKOVIC, STEVEN 1:06                              
18 WALLACE, C.J. 16:18 4 2/6 0/1   2 4 6 1   1   1 1 2 5
19 RENZI, ANDREA 14:49 10 5/5       2 2 1         2   11
Team           1 3 4               4
Totals 200:00 82 21/45 12/29 4/5 12 23 35 22 8 6 0 5 17 12 89
        46.7% 41.4% 80%
Head coach: MAHMUTI, OKTAY

Head Coaches

STB Le Havre
"We made a good first half. Starting the second though, we lost too many balls and gave them confidence. They scored at that time of the game and made the difference quite quickly indeed. We tried a zone defense and a press tactic but we never really managed to catch up all this late. We lost way too many balls. It was a good game tonight. We played well: better percentage, more rebounds, and more free throws. Once more, what killed us more than anything else were the too many turnovers.

We have a lot of injured or not available players. Strong's contract ended last Saturday, Bojic is still caught with a tendinitis, and also caught a cold; and Duport is still injured, and won't came back before February, in the best of cases. Unfortunately, I also lost Bernage yesterday night. He rendered enormous services and would have rendered even more in the next days. Once more, we lose another good player. It is sure that tonight he would have played as I foresaw initially, but this is sport. When seeing all injured players, one can say that tonight's result is good: with a really small rotation, we showed that we had interesting resources.

Our difficulties this season first can be explained through a mistake of mine. I picked a player who wasn't ready at all for sport, and even less for high level competition, who was Kentrell Gransberry. Then, we also had some troubles with the Gymnasium which obliged us to postpone some games earlier in the season, and we weren't ready at all for such a situation. That can explain our catastrophic early season. That said, Eurocup is a perfect way for us, meaning the players and myself, to learn. We also learned a lot on the surroundings of other basketball teams, etc. Travelling is an enriching experience when considering that point of view. On a general point, this experience has been exclusively positive for us. However, it would be great if we could win at least one game, because media always refer to Roanne or Asvel, but we rarely have an article. We sometimes even didn't have a single word, even though we are competing in Eurocup. It would be great to show them that we also are here, and existing."
Benetton Basket
"It was crucial for us to end with 4 victories in a row. We had to ensure the qualification tonight. This game was quite hard to handle, because we just played against Rome less than 48 hours ago. And Le Havre is not the city next door for us. The trip made us a bit tired. Hence, we tried to handle according to the fresh players we had, which was not an easy matter, after this tough game against Rome. The key of tonight's game was, for us, intensity. We also managed to defend quite hard at the key moments. The end of the game was relatively good, but on a general manner, one can say that we saw a really interesting game tonight, tough at all levels. Le Havre's team is really talented even if still very young. It is a good result for us tonight, because we know what this time can do... and especially when keeping the victories against Oostende in mind."


STB Le Havre
"The main disappointment tonight is the fact that we lost by 25 last week at Treviso. That time, we were strong for about 35 minutes, and we probably managed to keep in touch with them only 34 minutes tonight. What is sure is that one can feel the team getting stronger each week. Holidays are really welcome now, as it will allow to us to come back even stronger. We have no choice. We must win the first championship game in January. What is good is that there is now a real soul in this team, and we'll have the tools to go ahead. Everything is possible. Regarding the Eurocup, it would be nice to win at least one game. Even in this competition, we are feeling better and better. We have been able to play tougher with time. We are still very young, and this cup allowed us to learn a lot, to have some experience. What we can keep in mind from these European games is that above all it allowed us to make the new players integrated in the team. Moreover, as one used to play harder in Eurocup, it is really profitable for the championship. That is what happened in Chalons last time, and we must now have to confirm that. Treviso defended really hard, but in spite of this, we believed victory was still more than possible. Unfortunately, we wasted a lot of energy trying to come back to the score, and we paid it at the end of the game. Nicevic showed he was a great player. He killed us last week, and tonight, he made the task being really complicated."
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