Reyer holds on to stop Cedevita 76-68
In a game of swings, Umana Reyer Venice bent without breaking to register a 77-70 victory over visiting Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana on Wednesday. Reyer improved to 3-4 in Group B while Cedevita fell to 2-5. Mitchell Watt led the winners with 17 points and was followed closely by Michele Vitali and Stefano Tonut with 16 each while Austin Daye added 10. Jacob Pulled had 14 points for Cedevita and Edu Muric 12, while Jaka Blazic had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Cedevita led 5-14 to start but Reyer used a 16-3 response to lead 21-17 after 10 minutes. A red-hot Vitali shot Reyer to double-digit leads that reached as high as 19 points before settling at 45-28 for the break. Cedevita turned the tables with a 10-24 third quarter and forged a series of ties in the fourth before Daye broked the last one and Watt led Reyer the rest of the way.
Andrea De Nicolao put Reyer up 2-5 with the game's first triple, but Ferrell downed Cedevita's first 5 points and Edo Muric the next 4 as the visitors went ahead 5-9. Alen Omic added a hook shot and Melvin Ejim a triple to Cedevita's advantage, forcing a Reyer timeout at 5-14. Austin Daye struck from deep and Tonut drove for a layup as the hosts steadied themselves. Tarik Phillip and Martynas Echodas kept it going with a pair of impressive layups and Daye supplied Reyer's first lead, 16-15, with an elbow jumper. Muric took it back for Cedevita briefly before Michele Vitale's triple and a jump-hook by Echodas gave Reyer a 21-17 lead after 10 minutes and eventually forged several ties but Mitchell Watt stepped up
Vitali and Echodas repeated the exact same shots for a 26-17 difference to start the second quarter. Blazic went coast to coast to stop Cedevita's drought, but a red-hot Vitali made it a 29-19 lead from long distance. Ferrell scored in close and assisted Omic, but Valerio Mazzola and Tonut picked up where Vitali left off, shooting triples, as the lead ballooned to 36-23. Tonut kept it rolling with the next 4 points while Reyer's defense forced tough shots on Cedevita. Pullen and Ejim combined on 5 points for Cedevita, but Tonut hit Reyer's seventh triple of the half for a 45-28 halftime lead.
A pair baskets by Omic and free throws from Jaka Blazic drew Cedevita within 49-34 early in the second half. Watt matched his first-half scoring with 4 points and Daye finished a break to restore Reyer's 17-point lead, but Muric responded with a triple and 3 free throws to suddenly make it 53-42. Blazic banked in triple to get the difference to single digits, 53-47, for the first time in almost 20 minutes. Victor Sanders steadied Reyer with a basket but Ejim at the free throw line and Pullen from way beyond the arc completed Cedevita's huge quarter with the visitors within 55-52 after 30 minutes.
Pullen went high of the glass for a layup to start the fourth quarter and hit 1 of 2 free throws to complete the comeback, 55-55. Watt kept Reyer from losing the lead until Austin drilled from the corner at 62-59. Watt dunked and De Nicolao hit free throws at 66-59 before Tonut converted a three-point play to make it 69-61. A pair of technical free throws after Cedevita head coach Jurica Golemac was ejected meant a new double-digit lead, 71-61. Pullen hit a triple but Vitali matched him and 2 scoreless minutes followed, leaving a 74-66 difference entering the final minute, enough for Reyer to finally wrap its hands around the victory.
Reyer's sharpshooters changed the first half
Umana Reyer Venice was down 5-14 on its home floor to Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana and couldn't buy a basket early on Wednesday when Michele Vitali entered the fray at Palasport Taliercio. His first triple fell before the quarter ended to give his team a 19-17 lead. Vitale made a couple more without missing before halftime, by which time five Reyer players had hit bottom on 7 of 15 triple attempts for a 45-28 lead. Vitali would land his fourth one late in the game to finish with 16 points to go with 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
Birthday boy Watt finished strong for Reyer
Reyer's top scorer coming into the game, center Mitchell Watt, had little to do with the team's big early leads, scoring just 4 points as the hosts went up by as many as 19 in the first half against Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana on Wednesday in Group B. Watt, who was celebrating his 32nd birthday, came up big when his team needed him most, however. With the game tied 55-55, Watt's 4 points kept Cedevita from shooting for the lead. He would soon feed Michele Vitali for a triple that restored a double-digit lead and add 3 more points down the stretch to assure the victory. Watt led Reyer with 17 points and 7 rebounds in a performance that was worth celebrating, too, for the timeliness of his contribution.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021