Benetton Basket Bwin became the only undefeated team left in the 2010-11 Eurocup by downing Alba Berlin 75-71 in Group L in Treviso, Italy on Tuesday. Benetton registered its seventh consecutive win in this Eurocup season while Alba grabbed its first loss. Greg Brunner and Devin Smith led the winners with 15 points apiece. Derrick Allen had 18 points for Alba while Tadija Dragicevic added 12. Brian Skinner and Brunner shined in the first quarter to give Benetton a 23-14 lead after 10 minutes. Alba rallied and managed to regain the lead, 26-27, but Ryan Toolson and Stefan Markovic allowed Benetton to get a double-digit margin, 45-35, at halftime. Benetton boosted its lead to 66-53 after 30 minutes but Alba improved its defense and found a go-to guy in Dragicevic to get within 70-64 with under 3 minutes left. A three-pointer by Smith helped Benetton to seal the outcome down the stretch.
Brunner got Benetton going with a dunk but Allen followed a three-point play with free throws to give Alba a 2-5 lead. Donatas Motiejunas scored in the paint, igniting a 7-0 run in which Smith had 4 points to put Benetton back ahead, 9-5. Hollis Price stepped up with a bomb from downtown but free throws by Motiejunas and a put-back basket by Brunner allowed the hosts to get a 13-8 lead. Sven Schultze and Markovic traded baskets and free throws by Skinner soon made it a seven-point game, 17-10. Dragicevic and Patrick Femerling tried to change things for Alba but Brunner and Skinner stayed on fire for a 23-14 Benetton margin. Immanuel McElroy and Price got Alba within 24-18 after 10 minutes. Dragicevic nailed a triple early in the second quarter but a jumper by Massimo Bulleri gave his team a 26-21 lead. It didn't last long, however, as a 0-6 run that Yassin Idbihi capped with a layup made Alba regain a 26-27 edge. Toolson sank a three-pointer in a 7-0 run that Markovic capped with a layup, good for a 33-27 score. Lucca Staiger struck from downtown but Toolson and Markovic kept pacing Benetton to give the hosts a 41-32 margin. Motiejunas shined with a put-back layup and added free throws to make it a double-digit game, 45-35, at halftime.
Motiejunas scored again immediately after the break but Allen soon got Alba within single digits, 47-38. Brunner hit free throws that Allen erased with a jumper. Smith stepped up with a jumper and Hrvoje Peric added a three-pointer to keep Benetton out of trouble, 56-44, soon after that. Idbihi tried to ignite Alba's comeback with a layup and McElroy scored off a steal but a three-pointer by Smith got the crowd involved at 59-48. McElroy kept pacing Alba with a layup-plus-foul and Idbihi added a dunk but Toolson sank free throws and Alessandro Gentile added a three-pointer to boost Benetton's lead to 66-53 at the end of the third quarter. Alba needed a quick comeback to return to the game and Marko Marinovic tried to ignite it with a layup. Benetton, however, kept full control of the game. Bulleri buried a jumper and Brunner added a layup for a 70-57 Benetton lead with under 8 minutes left. The hosts went scoreless for 3 minutes but their good defense allowed them to keep a safe lead, as free throws by Bryce Taylor only got Alba within 70-59. Smith and Motiejunas missed free throws while a jumper by Idbihi and a big triple by Dragicevic gave Alba some hope, 70-64, with under 3 minutes left. Motiejunas split foul shots and a three-pointer by Smith sealed the outcome, 74-64, as even when the guests kept trying, Alba never recovered.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011