Montepaschi Siena retained conrol of Group C at the halfway point in the regular season by rolling to a 69-82 road win over Telindus Oostende in Belgium on Tuesday. The victory boosted Montepaschi to a 4-1 record and left it alone in first place while Oostende dropped to 2-3, but could find itself tied for third place depending on other scores. In a game full of runs, a couple big ones after the half gave Montepaschi double-digit leads that were never seriously threatened the rest of the way. Terrell McIntiry hit 4 of his team's 10 triples on the way to 19 points. Roman Sato and Joseph Forte were right behind him with 18 each while Lonny Baxter downed 14. Oostende got 21 points from Eric Hicks, 17 from Rashad Wright and 11 from Vanja Plisnic.
It was a back-and-forth start in which Forte's 5 quick points for Montepaschi were almost matched by Eric Hicks. It took a couple scoreless minutes of defense on Montepaschi for Oostende to take advantage with a 6-0 run including 4 points by Wright to lead 10-7. The hosts' stayed in front until Lonny Baxter scored 6 points in a row for Montepaschi and Luigi Datome followed him with a jumper for a 14-16 score in favor of the guests just in time for the end of one quarter. Baxter and Datome continued their run with a dunk and layup, respectively, to open the second quarter. By the time Baxter added another shot - giving him 10 points already - and Terrell McIntyre a layup, Montepaschi had a double-digit advantage, 14-24. Good defense brought Oostende back while Bailey, Sam Van Rossom, Plisnic and Wright shared in a 10-0 tying run to make it 24-24. Rimants Kaunkenas and Roman Sato preserved the lead for the visitors, but only until Elvir Ovcina detonated a triple to make it 29-27 for Oostende. Montepaschi didn't wait to respond as both McIntyre and Forte got open on the arc in the final minute of the half, draining their shots to put the visitors back in charge, 31-33, at the break.
After Lavor Postell came out and tied it up 33-33 for Oostende, McIntyre and Forte went back-to-back from the arc again for Montepaschi. Sato and Forte kept the run going until Montepaschi had a 10-point edge again, 33-43. Wright quickly cut it in half, but Baxter went back to work inside for Montepaschi, and soon McIntyre, Sato and Forte were driving through the Oostende defense as the lead ballooned to 39-53. Then, when Oostende was paying attention inside, McIntyre and Kaukenas struck from the arc to blow the game open at 41-59. Although Oostende anwered back now, Sato's 5 points in a row gave Montepaschi a 31-point quarter and a commanding 49-64 edge after 30 minutes. Sato continued hot with a triple to open the final quarter. Wright matched him to ignite a 10-3 Oostende charge that cut the difference to 59-70 with 6 minutes left. However, a scoreless 90 seconds ended with McIntyre launching from downtown and then getting fouled on a triple attempt and making all 3 free throws. When Shaun Stonerook followed with a layup, Montepaschi had a 59-78 lead and the road win was in hand.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006