Cedevita’s defense destroys Trento
Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana took a big step towards the Top 16 by trashing visiting Dolomiti Enegia Trento 87-65 at Arena Stozice on Tuesday night. The hosts trailed 24-30 early in the second quarter, but allowed only 9 points in the third quarter to roar to an 83-48 lead with 4 minutes to go in the fourth. Cedevita improved to 5-3 in Group D, but will have to wait for other results to confirm its ticket to the next stage. Jaka Blazic led the winners with 15 points, followed by Jarrod Jones, Kendrick Perry and Rion Brown, who scored 14, 14 and 13, respectively. JaCorey Williams paced Trento, falling short of a double-double by posting 20 points and 9 rebounds, while Toto Forray followed him with 14 points in a losing effort. Trento slipped to 6-3 after losing its third game in a row.
Brown and Edo Muric provided 5 points each to get the hosts going, 10-5, but Trento adjusted its defense and held Cedevita scoreless for 3 minutes to take charge, 10-12, midway through the first quarter. Blazic came to the rescue with a couple of buckets in a 10-3 run that returned the lead to the hosts, 20-15, but another offensive drought allowed the visitors to close the first quarter in front, 20-21. Forray took over with 7 points in a row and Victor Sanders contributed from the line to extend the margin to 24-30 early in the second, although Cedevita rallied promptly to grab a slim 31-30 advantage. Even though Trento tried to stop the hosts’ scoring flow with a timeout, a triple by Sanders and a three-point play by Perry made it 37-30 soon after. Blazic joined him with 5 consecutive points to finish the first half with the hosts ahead 44-35.
Back-to-back triples by Brown and Muric and a technical foul called on Gary Browne took the difference to double-digits right after the break. Perry converted a pair of layups to raise the margin to 57-39 and turn on the red lights on Trento’s dashboard. Even though the visitors tried to get back behind Browne outside and Williams inside, their offensive struggles continued against Cedevita’s strong defensive effort. Alen Hodzic buried a three, Perry added a layup and Jones hit from downtown to cap a 13-0 run that helped the hosts enter the fourth quarter comfortably in charge, 70-44. Things got even worse for the visitors, as Jones and Hodzic combined for 7 uncontested points that made it 77-44 with 8 minutes to play. With the outcome no longer in doubt, Cedevita increased the margin to 83-48 midway through the last period, and only a late rally behind Williams and Kelvin Martin allowed Trento to escape with a less embarrassing result.
What a defense!
Cedevita faced one of the best defensive teams in the competition, as the visitors allowed only 73.5 points per contest entering the game. But, on this night, the hosts forced Trento to take its own medicine by holding it to just 65 points. They kept the visitors to 34.1% on two-point shooting, 22.6% on three-point shooting and 69.6% from the line.
Run baby run
Even though the visitors tried hard to slow the pace of the game, Cedevita excelled in transition. Despite registering only 5 steals, the hosts scored 20 fastbreak points, which dismantled Trento’s defensive scheme.
Trento was the first team in Group D that secured a ticket to the Top 16, but has lost all its games since. It fell to Herbalife Gran Canaria in a Round 5 makeup game and fell short against Nanterre 92 in a double-overtime game in Round 8.
Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana will return to EuroCup action in just two days when it hosts Promitheas Patras in a Round 5 makeup game on Thursday, December 10. Dolomiti Energia Trento will also play its next game at home, but next week, when it hosts Herbalife Gran Canaria to finish the regular season on Wednesday, December 16.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020