Bennet Cantu bid farewell to the 2010-11 Eurocup season with a 75-72 win over Group E champion Galatasaray Café Crown. Cantu won to improve to 3-3 in the group, but was unable to catch Panellinios, which downed GasTerra Flames at the same time. Still Cantu gave its fans a show, scoring 6 unanswered points in the closing minute to take an exciting win. Maarty Leunen paced Cantu with 17 points, Vladimir Micov scored 16 and dished 6 assists, Denis Marconato posted 12 points and 10 rebounds and Nicolas Mazzarino scored 11. Taylor Rochestie paced Galatasaray with 14 points and Rado Rancik and Luksa Andric added 12 each. Gala finished atop the group with a 4-2 record and will play CEZ Nymburk, Asefa Estudiantes and Pepsi Caserta in Last 16 Group K.
Rancik put the visitors on the board first, but Cantu soon grabbed the lead as Ben Ortner scored twice around a Mike Green triple. Leunen added a three as the lead reached 6, but Galatasaray cut it down to 11-9 when Rancik answered from downtown. Marconato got involved with a slam and Mazzarino nailed a three-pointer. A Rancik basket did not stop the Cantu charge and threes from Micov and Michele Mian made it 22-11. After Rochestie scored a second-chance basket, Mazzarino made it 25-13 after 10 minutes. Leunen put the hosts up 15 with a three to start the second quarter as the fans celebrated. Ermal Kuqo came in and scored inside and Andric got on the board as the visitors showed signs of life. But a Jonathan Tabu triple and a bucket from Mian made it 35-17. Just when it seemed all was lost, Galatasaray came back hard. Haluk Yildrom started the run with a three-pointer and Rochestie scored 6 points and assisted on a Rancik basket-plus-foul as the visitors reeled off 13 unanswered points to get back in the game. Free throws from Huseyin Koksal got Galatasaray as close as 37-34 before Marconato free throws put Cantu ahead 39-34 at the break.
Kuqo made an impact on both sides of the floor as Galatasaray looked to regain its second-quarter momentum, but a Leunen triple kept Cantu in control. Rancik cut the lead to 43-40 only to see Micov and Green account for 5 quick points. A pair of baskets by Andric brought the visitors within 50-46. Mazzarino and Micov answered from the line and then Mazzarino hit a three to boost the Cantu lead to double figures. Just when it seemed all was lost, Mazzarino committed a technical foul and Galatasaray mounted another charge as Andric attacked the basket and Even Buker fed Yildrim on the break to make it 57-55 heading into the fourth quarter. Yildrim continued the charge with a three that gave Galatasaray its first lead since the opening minute Leunen countered with a three, but now the tension was on high. Melih Mahmutoglu tied the game at 60-60, but Leunen, Marconato and Micov came through to give the hosts breathing room. Micov drained a three to make it 69-62, but Cantu had little time to celebrate as Buker hit twice from behind the arc and Galatasaray went ahead 69-70. Koksal made it 69-72 with a minute to go. Micov stepped up with a clutch three to tie the game and Gala took a timeout. After a miss, Micov grabbed the rebound and was fouled, but missed twice from the line. But Green took the rebound from Rochestie and fed Leunen for the game winning- slam-plus foul. Buker had one last chance, but missed from downtown as Cantu took the win. In the end, it would prove to not be enough as word of Panellinios’s win reached the hall, but still Cantu could leave the Eurocup with its head held high.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010