In an incredible game in which anything could have happened in Ljubljana, Union Olimpija got its second win in Group B by downing Cibona 92-88 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in one of the most incredible games seen in the Euroleague so far this season. Cibona overcame a 13-point deficit to get a 75-80 edge with 4 minutes to go, and even when Olimpija rallied to get a 83-80 lead with 3 seconds to go in regulation. Davor Kus drew a foul while shooting a midcourt shot and made all 3 free throws to send the game to overtime. Once in overtime, Teemu Rannikko, Sandi Cebular and Ivica Jurkovic scored free throws in a 7-1 final run which allowed Olimpija to seal an incredible win and improve to 2-6 in the Group B standings. Rannikko led the winners with 18 points, Manu Markoishvili added 16, Jurkovic had 14, Domen Lorbek 12 and Ender Arslan 10 for Olimpija. Davor Kus led Cibona with 25 pints on 17 of 17 free throws, tying with Andrija Zizic for most foul shots made without missing in Euroleague history. Chrs Warren added 18, Barisa Krasic 17 and Brent Wright 13.
Olimpija opened the game with its usual small lineup featuring Marko Milic at power forward. Warren got Cibona going with a fast break dunk but Markoishvili answered from downtown for a 3-2 Olimpija lead. Wright dominated in defense early, so Olimpija opted to take long shots without much success. Meanwhile, Kus hit free throws and Warren added one from downtown for a 3-7 Cibona lead. Hasan Rizvic stepped up with a jump hook and Markoishvili buried a five-meter jumper. Wright scored in the paint but Milic replied with free throws to tie it at 9-9. Lorbek nailed from from the left corner but Warren answered with a six-meter jumper. Rizvic took over with a tip-in but a red hot Warren matched it with a long jumper and soon added a free throw for another tie, 14-14. More fouls by Kus, Krasic and Rannikko fixed the score at 15-18 at the end of the first quarter.
Jurkovic found space for a corner three-pointer right at the start of the second quarter but Krasic matched it with a layup-plus-foul. Jurkovic insisted from downtown but a technical foul on Olimpija's bench allowed Kus and Krasic to give Cibona a 22-25 edge. A recovered Saulius Kuzminskas shined with a three-point play as the game turned into a physical battle. Marin Rozic and Jurkovic exchanged layups, but free throws by Rannikko put Olimpija back ahead, 29-27. Krasic took over with a tough left-handed layup which Jurkovic - who else? - and Kuzminskas erased with free throws. Vedran Morovic scored in penetration and Jurica Zuza added foul shots but Rannikko answered from downtown to provide another lead change, 34-33. Markoshvili hit more free throws while Rannikko beat the buzzer with a driving layup to give Olimpija a 38-33 lead at halftime.
Cibona regain its rhythm after the break, as Marton Bader hit free throws while Andrew Wisniewski followed a fast break layup with an outstanding three-point play to force an Olimpija timeout at 38-40. Milic woke Olimpija up with a fast break dunk which Warren erased with a six-meter jumper. Rizvic stepped up with layup while Lorbek hit a jumper and added a triple, making Cibona call timeout at 50-43. Milic provided a highlight with a two-handed reverse dunk while Markoishvili capped a 15-0 run with a basket-plus-foul to give Olimpija a 55-43 lead after 26 minutes. Krasic hit free throws for Cibona but Arslan answered from downtown to make it a 13-point game, 58-45. Warren hit one from three-point range while Kus and Wright added free throws to bring Cibona back to life, 58-52. Wright was unstoppable now and scored twice around the basket, but free throws by Rannikko and a three-pointer by Arslan allowed Olimpija to keep a 66-57 margin after three quarters.
Krasic hit one from downtown and Kus added a fast break layup to keep Cibona in the game early in the fourth quarter. Kuzminskas rescued Olimpija with a close basket which Krasic erased with free throws. Rannikko beat the shot clock with a wild triple but Wright hit free throws to get Cibona within 71-66. Kus buried a critical three-pointer but Rannikko replied with a fast break layup. Kus fired in another triple off a Cibona timeout to which Lorbek answered with a jumper to keep Olimpija ahead, 75-72. Warren made free throws while Milic was left the game with a double technical foul, allowing Kus to give Cibona a 75-80 lead with under 4 minutes remaining. A corner triple by Arslan allowed Olimpija to recover, pushed by a wild crowd. Rannikko and Lorbek missed three-point shots but Jurkovic dunked it to tie it at 80-80 with 28 seconds to go. Lorbek collected a critical steal and went to the foul line with 6 seconds to go. He calmly made both attempts, but Arslan made just 1 of 2 with 3 seconds remaining. The game was not over, however, as Kus was fouled while taking a midcourt shot and made all 3 free throws to send the game to overtime, 83-83.
Wright was first to score in the extra period on free throws which Markoishvili erased with a layup in the other end. Jerry MCullough scored in transition to make Cibona get a 85-87 edge with 3 minutes to go. Markoishvili drew a foul and calmly made free throws for a 87-87 tie. The game went crazy, as Warren and Arslan exchanged missed shots while Jurkovic missed an uncontested layup. A 24-second violation gave Olimpija possession with 48 seconds to go. Rannikko hit a free throw with 33.4 seconds on the clock but since he was bleeding, Cebular stepped on court to replace him and hit the second for a 89-87 lead. Krasic travelled, while Rannikko - back on court - made 1 of 2 free throws with 11 seconds to go. Krasic was next on the line. He made his first shot, missed the second on purpose and Jurkovic grabbed the rebound and drew a foul. He made both attempts with 3.9 seconds to go and sealed an incredible win for Olimpija!
Thursday, December 14, 2006