Benetton Basket became the second team to reach the Final Eight on Tuesday when it outlasted Turk Telekom 89-87 on Tuesday. C.J. Wallace converted a pair of offensive rebounds into points during a 10-1 fourth-quarter run that broke open a 71-71 tie and led Benetton to victory. Benetton improved to 4-0 in Group J with the win, while damaging Turk Telekom’s hopes of reaching the next stage. Telekom dropped to 1-3 and faces a tough test at second place Zadar next week. Wallace was one of six Benetton scorers in double figures with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Gary Neal led the charge with 17 points, Matteo Soragna shot 5 for 6 from downtown en route to 15 points, Andrea Renzi posted 13 points in 11 minutes, Domen Lorbek and Sandro Nicevic netted 10 each and Dashaun Wood orchestrated the attack with 7 assists. Michael Wright paced Telekom with 20 points, Rod Blakney added 16 and 4 assists, Serkan Erdogan scored 15 and dished 4 assists and Tutku Acik scored 10. The game was close for much of the night. Telekom led by 8 at one point earl, but Benetton came back and the scored was tied at 43-43 by halftime. The hosts led by 8 in the third quarter, but Telekom came back to take the lead. The fourth quarter featured two ties and two lead changes before Benetton's run. Even then, late threes by Acik and Baris Ozcan kept the visitors close, but Massimo Bulleri free throws iced the win for the hosts.
The game started with foul shots, first Erwin Dudley for Turk Telekom and then Wood for Benetton. Bekir Yarangume and Wright, off an Erdogan dish, put Ankara 2-5 up. Wright was tough to handle and Ozcan nailed 2 threes to make it 5-13 as Treviso could not find its range on offense. Wood and Wallace combined for 4 quick points off a timeout to bring the hosts within 4. Wright was the answer again before Renzi and Dudley had immediate impact when they checked in. Kris Lang got in the act too with a put-back, but Lorbek roared with back-to-back triples to get his team within 17-19 after 10 minutes. Renzi opened the second quarter, but Blakney hit a triple for the visitors. The big men were shining as the score stayed tight. Nicevic gave Benetton its first lead since the first minute, but Wright made a three-point play, good for a 25-27 score. Soragna, with a triple, Bulleri and Lorbek combined for a 6-0 spurt before Blakney fixed the score at 31-29 for Treviso. Neal matched Erdogan's three and Renzi responded to Lang and added another put-back to take a 6-point lead. However, Blakney, with an open triple, and Erdogan, with consecutive jumpers, brought Ankara level at the half despite a three-point play by Renzi, 43-43.
It was a perfect second half start for the hosts with Soragna hitting from three and Wallace and Wood making it a 7-0 run before Lang scored a layup. Soragna kept firing in from behind the arc. Erdogan answered, but Neal added another one to make it 56-48. Blakney and Erdogan drilled three-pointers, but Neal took over the Treviso offense to retain a 7-point edge. Some poor decision-making on both end of the court from Treviso let Ankara back within 2 at 61-59. Blakney and Acik converted back-to-back triples to silence the crowd, but captain Soragna beat the buzzer to keep Treviso in front 66-65 before the decisive last 10 minutes. Acik stripped Bulleri and scored a layup. Then Neal drained a three and Dudley tied it at 69. Bulleri finally found his mark and led his team to a 6-point lead with Wallace working hard on the offensive glass and scoring two put-backs. Sunter was forced to call timeout at 77-71 and five minutes to go. However, Soragna added another of his triples to get Treviso up 81-72. The hosts maintained their advantage until the last minute when Wright made a three-point play and Acik added a three to get back within 3 with 38 seconds to play. Yarangume had a chance to tie it from the corner, but he missed and Bulleri sealed the game from the line to qualify for the Final Eight.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009