Bnei Hasharon earned its first win of its Eurocup season with a 78-76 victory over visiting Panellinios in Group D. The hosts held the lead for the majority of the game, but it was anything but easy. Meir Tapiro scored five times out of six free throw attempts in the last seconds to stay on top and secure the win. Both teams are now tied with a 1-3 record, and still have a chance to qualify to the next round, though they must win both remaining games. Tapiro led Bnei Hasharon with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, Cookie Belcher added 15 and 5 steals, Richard Roby scored all of his 12 points in the first half and Ousmane Cisse recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds. Panellinios saw Ivan Radenovic shine with 19 points and 7 rebounds, Stevan Nadjfeji added 12 and Georgios Kalaitzis had 10 points.
The visitors took a quick 2-6 lead, but Tapiro with a three pointer put Bnei Hasharon on top by a small 10-8 margin. Roby and Tapiro led an 8-1 run towards the end of the first quarter on the way to a 22-16 first quarter lead. Radenovic showed his presence in the paint to cut the lead in half, but Roby pushed the lead to 34-24 midway in the second quarter. Manolis Papamakarios connected from distance and Radenovic from the line moved Panellinios closer once again, and at the half Bnei Hasharon held just a small lead of 39-38.
Belcher kept Bnei Hasharon on top early in the second half, but Kalaitzis led a Panellinios run on the way to a 48-54 lead. An unsportsmanlike foul from Brad Newley allowed Bnei Hasharon to tie the score. Radenovic scored again in the low post and finished the third quarter with a 56-56 tie. Shawn James connected another triple to make it 65-61 with 4:53 minutes on the clock and when Ugonna Onyekwe pushed Bnei Hasharon up with a big follow dunk to reach a what seemed to be safe 70-61 lead. Panellinios wasn't about to give up yet, scored five in a row and had the ball, but Anthony Grundy turned the ball over and Belcher scored from the other side a crazy off balance and a bonus from the line that also fouled out Papamakarios to make it 73-66. The teams entered the last 90 seconds with Bnei Hasharon on top 73-70 when Cisse grabbed two crucial offensive rebounds. Belcher missed a corner three that could have pull down the curtain and Kalaitzis scored from the line with 21.6 seconds on the clock. Panellinios pressured the in bound and managed to get the ball back, but after a time out, failed to in bound as well and Tapiro was sent to the line to connect two with 16 seconds on the clock. Newley hit just once on the other side with 7.7 ticks to play, and once again Tapiro hit twice a second later to make it a 77-73 game. Vladimir Petrovic hit a desperate three point from the wing with 1.9 seconds, before Tapiro, for the third time in a row, went to the charity stripe. He missed the first, and hit the second with the board, which allowed the guests just one last chance. Kalaitzis got the ball at half court and managed to hit the rim, but it wasn't enough to take the win away from Bnei Hasharon.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008