Caja Laboral downed Bennet Cantu 81-69
Caja Laboral stayed unbeaten in Group A by downing Bennet Cantu 81-69 in Vitoria, Spain on Wednesday. Laboral moved up to 2-0 to take sole possession of first place - even when Bizkaia Bilbao Basket can join it if it beats Sluc Nancy tomorrow. Cantu dropped to 1-1 but its chances to go to the Top 16 are still intact. Mirza Teletovic had 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. He had all points in an 8-0 run that allowed Laboral to get full control of for good. Milko Bjelica added 17, Thomas Huertel had 11 while Kevin Seraphin had 10 for the winners. Vladimir Micov led Cantu with 14 points. Marko Scekic added 13 while Giorgi Shermadini had 11 for the guests. Free throws by Scekic allowed Cantu to get a 26-27 edge at the end of a high-scoring first quarter. Milko Bjelica shined late in the first half but Shermadini and Nicolas Mazzarino helped Cantu to tie the game, 44-44, at halftime. A three-pointer by Micov helped Cantu to stay within 65-62 but Teletovic sank consecutive three-pointers and took over with a huge dunk for a 73-62 Laboral lead, enough for the hosts to control the game for good.
Seraphin got Laboral going with a jump hook and added a wild put-back dunk for a 4-0 score. Cantu went scoreless for almost 3 minutes until Manuchar Markoishvili struck from downtown. Seraphin shined with an alleyoop layup that Maarten Leunen erased with a layup. Heurtel took over with a high-flying tip-in that Shermadini bettered with a three-point play for an 8-8 tie. Teletovic stepped up with a layup-plus-foul and a four-meter jumper by Heurtel gave Laboral some fresh air, 13-8. Heurtel stayed on fire with a driving layup that made Cantu call timeout at 15-8. Andrea Cinciarini shined with a three-point play and fed Micov for an easy layup to get the guests within 15-13. Milko Bjelica scored in transition but Denis Marconato matched it with a jump hook and a triple by Leunen made it a one-point game, 19-18. Pau Ribas and Milko Bjelica hit free throws but Micov, Marconato and a three-pointer by Nicolas Mazzarino gave Cantu a 23-25 edge. A layup-plus-foul by Milko Bjelica and free throws by Scekic fixed the score at 26-27 after 10 minutes.
Gianluca Basile sank a long jumper early in the second quarter but back-to-back three-pointers by Milko Bjelica and Teletovic quickly helped Laboral to restore a 32-29 edge. Shermadini fed Mazzarino for a layup but Nemanja Bjelica answered from downtown for a 35-31 score. Pablo Prigioni quickly scored off a steal to make Cantu call a much-needed timeout at 37-31. Mazzarino kept pacing Cantu with free throws but he didn't find much help around. Meanwhile, Milko Bjelica nailed another triple to boost the hosts' lead to 40-33. Markoishvili answered from downtown and a layup by Scekic kept Cantu as close as 40-38. The guests kept excelling in defense and a floating layup by Micov tied it at 40-40. Heurtel back the shot clock buzzer with a layup that Shermadini erased with free throws. Scekic scored again but Ribas buried a corner jumper for a 44-44 tie at halftime.
Oleson made free throws immediately after the break and Heurtel added a running three-pointer for a 49-44 Laboral lead. Cantu struggled to score early in the third quarter and a coast-to-coast layup by Fernando San Emeterio made the guests call timeout at 51-44. Micov rescued Cantu with a triple and Scekic banked in a jump hook to make it a two-point game, 51-49. Seraphin shined with a turnaround jumper but Cantu had raised its defensive level. Cinciarini took over with a second-chance basket, as Laboral kept struggling to score. A jumper by Scekic forced the hosts to call a much-needed timeout at 53-53. Milko Bjelica and Teletovic sank free throws but Micov and an unstoppable Scekic erased with consecutive baskets. Teletovic buried a baseline jumper but a backdoor layup by Mazzarino tied the game again, 59-59. Foul shots by Nemanja Bjelica put the hosts back ahead, 61-59, after 30 minutes.
Teletovic kept pacing Laboral with a backdoor layup early in the fourth quarter, as the hosts try to control the game with Prigioni, Ribas and Nemanja Bjelica together on court. Teletovic sank another shot for a 65-59 score with under 8 minutes to go. Micov rescued Cantu with a bomb from downtown but Teletovic copied him in the other end for a 68-62 score. Cantu faced severe troubles, as Marconato fouled out while Scekic and Leunen each had 4. Teletovic - who else? - set the crowd on fire with a show-stopping dunk and then buried a catch-and-shoot three-pointer to break the game open, 73-62, after an 8-0 run in which he had all points. Shermadini sank a hook shot and added free throws to give Cantu some hope, 73-66, with over 3 minutes left. San Emeterio hit 4-of-4 free throws, as Laboral started to use long possessions to run the game clock down. Shermadini dunked it but it was already too late for Cantu, as all Laboral fans were celebrating that their team is still undefeated in Group A.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011