Adecco Estudiantes of Madrid put itself in a fight for first place in Group C and complicated the life of Generali Group Trieste on Tuesday with a 78-85 road win. Estudiantes, already qualified going into the game, lifted its record to 6-3, good for a three-way tie at the top of the group with Krka Novo Mesto and RheinEnergie Cologne. Point guard Corey Brewer was the scoring leader of Estudiantes with 25 points, shooting an excellent 6-for-11 on threes. A pair of double-doubles came from Hernan Jasen, with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Felipe Reyes, with 14 points and 13 boards, while Nikola Loncar tallied 11 more points for the winners. For Generali Group of Trieste, Sinisa Kelecevic was the best scorer with 22 points. Nate Erdmann added 18, but missed 12 of 18 shots, while center Andrea Camata and point guard Ivica Maric netted 10 apiece. Trieste fell out of all-important fourth place and is 3-6 behind Chalon (4-5) with a single game remaining in the regular season. Only a combination of Trieste winning at Darussafaka next week and Chalon losing at Krka can save the Italian team, which advances in any tie with Chalon.
The game started well for the home team. After a beginning with poor percentage from both sides and a substantial balance in the score, 13-12 with 2 free throws posted by Erdmann and two minutes to go, Trieste made a 7-0 run to end the first period on 20-12. Good accuracy from the line and a three-pointer by Kelecevic secured that advantage, but as the game went on, Estudiantes became more aggressive on defense and Trieste suffered three turnovers. After a timeout, Maric scored a three, but Brewer answered immediately and the game went on this way until the end of the firat half, with the home team trying to escape and the Spaniaards chasing. Estudiantes came as close as 37-35 with a long distance shot by Jasen, but Erdmann's spectacular basket at the buzzer gave Generali Group a slim 41-36 advantage at the break.
Generali Group kept on the run to begin the third period with a 9-0 partial to take a comfortable 50-36 advantage on a layup posted by Roberto Casoli after Ismaila Sy stole a ball. But in a breath Adecco Estudiantes was back in the game. Three straight long distance bombs, one for Nikola Loncar and two for Brewer, alternated with three mistakes of Trieste gave the opportunity to guests to come closer at 52-47. The game changed completely and Estduiantes followed its run also after a timeout called by Generali Group and after Brewer again with a three tied it up, 52-52. Kelecevic scored the first basket after a long time for the home team, but it was just a mirage for Trieste. Another 0-10 run, for a total of 5-24 in the 7 minutes of the period, and Estudiantes was ahead at the buzzer of the third quarter, 55-62, with the last lond distance basket netted by Reyes.
Beginning the final period, Trieste scored on a mid-range jumper from Kelecevic and Camata slammed the ball to pull within 59-62. From that moment, it was Estudiantes trying to increase its advantage and Trieste trying to come back. The locals would never regain the lead, however, as Estudiantes controlled the glasses, rejecting all the rally attempts of the home team. Brewer again killed Trieste with a fastbreak and a three after Triste was as close as 76-79 with two minutes to go. But the guests finished by managing the game with good accuracy from the foul line and Trieste never gave the impression of being able to come back.
Tuesday, January 7, 2003