Krka Novo Mesto held off its hard-charging visitors from Chalon for a 75-71 home win on Tuesday that gave the locals first place in Group C and, due to a combination of results, knocked Chalon out of the competition. The loss left Chalon at 4-6 for the season, tied for fourth place with Trieste, a 73-86 road winner Tuesday at Darussafaka of Istanbul. Having beaten Chalon twice, Trieste advances in a tiebreaker. Chalon seemed to know what was going on in Istanbul as it mounted a furious last-quarter comeback attempt. Down 15 points goint into the final quarter, Chalon got to within 2 in the final minute before time ran out. Aleksandar Capin, who led Krka with 19 points, made insurance free throws in the final seconds. Jamie Arnold and Slavko Duscak added 16 points each for the winners. Chalon got 20 points from Udonis Haslem, half of those in the fourth quarter, and 16 from Laurent Pluvy, whose second three quarter of the final 10 minutes made it 73-71 before Capin's fateful free throws.
The first bad news for Chalon came when forward Dragan Vukcevic failed to make the trip to Novo Mesto because of visa problems. The game started nervously for both sides. Krka managed a 6-0 run with a three-pointer by center Marton Bader, but little else happened in the first 5 minutes. Chalon then united under the veteran tuning of Pluvy to grab a 6-6 tie. That woke up Krka, too, and with Bader leaving with 4 fouls after just 7 minutes, Arnold led a 7-0 run for the hosts that included a Capin hitting his team's first three-pointer. A few seconds before the first quarter ended, Krka lead 15-9, but Stanley Jackson cut that in half with a shot from downtown for 15-12 after 10 minutes. The second quarter was similary, with Pluvy and Haslem trying to make sure Krka did not escape by more than 5 points. Krka would go ahead by 7 points after 17 minutes on a basket by Duscak, already up to 8 points. Then Capin exploded for 6 points in a row to boost the Krka lead into double figures, 37-28, as the half ended. Capin had 10 points by then, Arnold with 8 and 9 rebounds.
Chalon tried a 4-0 run to start the third quarter but Boris Gnjidic and Arnold kept Krka's lead strong at 46-36 after 24 minutes. The lead held at that amount during most of the period as Krka started to played more relaxed and managed to get past Chalon's strong defense. Casey Calvary was the only player on Chalon side who manage to knock down shots, but not even he could keep up with Capin and Dragisa Drobnjak, who gave Krka a push going into the final quarter ahead by 15 points, 61-46.
Chalon was down to its last 10 minutes and tried to win it all then. Haslem scored 8 straight points for the guests to close the gap a little, and then Pluvy got it below 10 points with a three-pointer that made it 67-59. Soon after, Haslem was scoring again to trim it to 67-63 with 4 minutes left. After a Krka timeout, however, Arnold buried a triple. That was followd by a Tim Nees layup for Chalon, and the resulting 70-65 difference stood there for almost two scoreless minutes. Williem Laure scored one free throw for Chalon, but Duscak answered with a jumper for 72-66, and a Haslem layup made it 72-68 with 30 seconds left. Drognjak dropped 1 of 2 free throws, then Pluvy nailed his other three-pointer. But with seconds left, Capin finished off a first-place season for Krka.
Friday, January 17, 2003