Pepsi Caserta recorded a 54-64 victory over Galatasaray Café Crown in Istanbul on Tuesday night to secure its ticket to the Eurocup Quarterfinals. Caserta improved to 4-1 as it swept Galatasaray in the Last 16, eliminating head coach Oktay Mahmuti’s team from playoff contention. Eric Williams paced the winners with 13 points and Lukasz Koszarek added 10 while Aaron Doornekamp and Ebi Ere scored 8 each and Jumaine Jones added 5 points and 7 rebounds to the winning cause. Galatasaray could not overcome scoring just 6 points in the second quarter despite a 0-13 push in the third and a 44-33 rebounding advantage. Preston Shumpert paced Gala with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while Tutku Acik added 9 points and Luksa Andric scored 8 and grabbed 8 rebounds.
Galatasaray suffered a turnover-plagued start to the game, as Caserta played strong perimeter defense and attacked the basket whenever possible at the other end. Still, the hosts featured Andric in the paint early and were able to get their first lead of the game on a layup by the center that made it 12-11. Williams then took over inside for the visitors, working to get good looks and notching his 7th point to make it 12-20 en route to a 14-22 advantage for Caserta after 10 minutes. The visitors built on their cushion to impose full dominance of the hosts in the second quarter. With control of the paint, the boards and some smooth touch from beyond the arc, head coach Stefano Sacripanti’s crew was able to net a 19-point difference that started off with two straight Timmy Bowers buckets. Luca Garri then added another before Shumpert labored for two consecutive layups after 7 straight misses by the home side. But the forward’s close-range shots would only be a stopgap for Galatasaray, as Caserta scored 9 unanswered points en route to a 2-13 run highlighted by consecutive Koszarek triples. The push translated into a 20-41 halftime deficit for Galatasaray and quite the uphill battle for Mahmuti’s team in the second half.
With their backs against the wall and their 6-point second quarter serving as motivation, Galatasaray stampeded out of the locker room after the break and quickly doubled its previous period’s point total with a 0-13 run cemented on 10 combined points from Shumpert and Jerry Johnson. Sacripanti elected not to panic, however, and did not call timeout, as Caserta finally got out of the funk by going inside to Williams and the big man came through with a dunk that pushed the margin back to 38-46. Galatasaray tightened up its defense and jumped the passing lanes in an effort to capitalize on fast-break opportunities, but the visitors played half court sets patiently and sealed the defensive glass, negating second-chance opportunities to reach the final quarter at a comfortable margin of 40-52. Galatasaray tried to shoot itself into the game, but Caserta slowed the tempo down in the fourth and the hosts had trouble manufacturing good looks, as Andric committed consecutive turnovers and Fabio Di Bella manned the point with plenty of poise in tough minutes for the visitors. When Caserta needed buckets, it looked for Williams’s muscle inside and the big man delivered again with a dunk for a 46-58 score and a nice assist on a Jones layup that put Caserta up by 10. Josh Shipp tried to will his team to victory in what was, essentially, a three-possession game in the final two minutes, but the home team could not hit from long distance and Caserta took care of business by crashing the boards and hitting its free throws.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011