At the end of an exciting and balanced game, Telekom Baskets of Bonn has won its first ULEB Cup game, outlasting Joventut of Badalona 81-78 thanks to a mid-range jumper posted by Terrence Rencher with 18 seconds to go. Rencher also hit an insurance free throw bagged with 3 seconds left that proved unnecessary as Paco Vazquez of Joventut missed a long-distance shot to take the game to overtime. The winners had four players in double figure led by Alksnader Nadjfeji with 27 points. Brad Traina added 19, Rencher 12 and Brian Brown 11. For the guests from Spain, Maceo Baston was the coring leader with 20 points, Nikola Radulovic added 15, Antonio Bueno 13 and Juan Alberto Espil 11 others. Both teams are now 1-1 in Group A.
The first period started with dominant defenses and the score close until Nadjfeji scored the three-pointer that sparked Bonn's first escape to a 14-8 lead. Bonn enalrged that advatage to 17-10 with a basket by big Aleksandar Radojevic, but DKV Joventut with a 2-9 run tied it, 19-19, on a triple by Espil. An easy basket at the buzzer by Branko Klepac gave the locals a 25-22 edge after 10 minutes. The second period was a cat-and-mouse affair, with Bonn trying to run away Joventut Badalona staying right behind. Nadjfeji was on fire with 15 points as the hosts reached a 32-26 lead, but Maceo Baston was soon dunking to put Badalona back within 38-36 a couple minutes before the half. By the time of the break, a free throw by Brown was required for Bonn to take just a 43-41 advantage into the locker rooms. Three platers were already in double figure, Nadjfeji (17) and Traina (11) for Bonn, Espil (11) for Joventut.
The third period proved decisive for Telekom Bonn and almost ended with the Germans owning an 11-point edge on a Traina triple, 66-57. But Badalona showed itself to have a thousand lives, and with a 0-4 partial in the last second between Nikola Radulovic and Paco Vazquez, that gap was slashed to 66-59. The fourth period started with dunking-time and Baston and Bueno slammed three times on Bonn's rim, but a three-pointer by Brown gave another solid lead, 74-67, to the hosts. Radulovic then hit two jumpers to bring Joventut within 74-71 with five minutes to go. Now, veteran guard Rafa Jofresa tied it 74-74 and after a long minute without scoring. Nadjfeji answered with 2 free throws for a 76-74 Bonn lead. It went like that until Rencher nailed the big jumper to give the Germans their first victory in the ULEB Cup.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002