Montepaschi Siena overcame Maccabi Electra 76-72
Montepaschi Siena survived a strong test from Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to start Group F with a 76-72 win on Thursday. It was Montepaschi’s first ever win over the Israeli champion. The Italian champs led from the opening minutes, but Maccabi never quit. A David Bluthenthal triple and an Alan Anderson layup had Maccabi twice within 2 in the final minute, but Ksistof Lavrinovic, Henry Domercant and Romain Sato were a combined 6 for 6 from the line down the stretch to wrap up the win. David Hawkins led the winners with 17 points and 5 assists, Domercant added 16 points – all in the last quarter-and-a-half – while stretching his streak of consecutive free throws made to 51. Lavrinovic added 14 points, Benjamin Eze had 11 and Shaun Stonerook contributed 11 rebounds for Montepaschi, which travels to Efes Pilsen next week. Anderson dinished with 26 points and Doron Perkins added 11 for Maccabi, which hosts Real Madrid next.
Maccabi opened with a new-look lineup, going with Guy Pnini at small forward and moving Chuck Eidson over to power forward. Shaun Stonerook took advantage of his size advantage on Eidson to get inside for a score, but Maccabi quickly countered through Anderson and D’Or Fischer. Terrell McIntyre’s steal led to a Romain Sato layup as the game pace picked up. Anderson scored over Hawkins before Hawkins fed Eze for a monster slam. McIntyre then worked the pick-and-roll with Eze for another power slam, foul and a 10-6 edge. Stephane Lasme came in for Fischer to use his speed against Eze. Lasme soon made an impact by drawing a foul from Stonerook and sinking a free throw. Though the game pace remained high, the scoring dropped off as the defenses got tougher. Montepaschi introduced Lavrinovic who soon scored from the line, but Pnini answered from downtown to bring Maccabi within 2. Lavrinovic scored on successive possessions to lift the hosts to 17-12 after 10 minutes.
Perkins had trouble creating for Maccabi and his back-to-back turnovers led directly to a Nikos Zisis layup, an Eze basket and a 9-point Montepaschi lead. After a timeout, Zisis went right through the Maccabi defense for a score and Eze rejected Lasme at the other end. Perkins dished to Eidson for a slam that ended Siena’s 9-0 charge. David Bluthenthal sank a jumper as Maccabi regained its footing. Eze remained strong in the paint with a hook shot and the home defense made things tough for Maccabi. Hawkins nailed Montepaschi’s first three of the night and gave the hosts their first double-digit lead. Anderson hit from behind the arc, but was still not getting good looks on offense. At the other end, McIntyre blew through the Maccabi defense for a basket, foul and 33-22 lead. Perkins answered with a strong move inside for a layup-and-foul. Another score inside from Perkins on the next play helped Maccabi get to 33-26 at the end of a half in which it was outplayed.
Hawkins strolled through the Maccabi defense for a layup on the first play of the third quarter. Anderson was fouled shooting a three and made the 2 resulting free throws and soon Eidson drilled a triple to get Maccabi within 5, but Lavrinovic scored over Lasme, drew the Maccabi forward’s fourth foul and restored Montepaschi control. Anderson and Hawkins swapped threes. Yaniv Green proved to be a tougher defender on Lavrinovic than his predecessors and Bluthenthal sank a mid-range jumper to make it 43-37. Green fed Perkins for a layup and then teamed with Eidson to deny Hawkins and Maccabi got within 3. Domercant got to the line and sank 2 shots, but Green matched him with a jump shot. Hawkins outmuscled Perkins for a score only to see Perkins strike from downtown. The hosts regained control when Perkins missed twice from the line with his team down 2 and Hawkins scored at the other end. Then a loose ball would up in Siena hands and Domercant struck from outside to make it 52-45. Maccabi stayed strong behind free throws by Green and Eidson. Domercant jumper made it 54-49 at the end of the quarter.
Domercant looked to put the game away with another jumper and Hawkins played a two-man game to get Eze a layup. Anderson came through with back-to-back threes to keep Maccabi’s hopes alive. Domercant made the Montepaschi crowd roar with a long jumper and later a triple that stretched the lead to 65-55. Lasme missed from point-blank range as head coach Pini Gershon started to lose hope. Pnini made a triple, but Lavrinovic and Hawkins continued to pile on points for the hosts. Anderson hit another big three. Montepaschi brought in McIntyre to help seal the game. Anderson finally missed from downtown and Stonerook pushed the Siena lead to 7 from the line. Perkins sank 2 free throws to get within 70-65 with 1:36 remaining. Hawkins missed a mid-range jumper, but Andrew Wisniewski missed a wide-open triple for the visitors. Bluthenthal hit a deep three with 36 second to play that brought Maccabi within 2. Lasme fouled out trying to strip the ball from Lavrinovic and the Montepaschi center went to the line with 25.4 seconds left and sank 2 to put his team up 4. Anderson darted downcourt for a layup and Maccabi fouled Domercant with 16.4 seconds left. Domercant – the best free-throw shooter in the league this season – hit both. Maccabi got the ball to Anderson, but he missed a three. Sato, who got the rebound, was promptly fouled and hot 2 free throws with 11.9 seconds left to effectively ice the win.
Thursday, January 28, 2010