Caja Laboral, which survived 75-78 at Cibona
Caja Laboral battled back from an early double-digit deficit to sting Cibona 75-78 at the Drazen Petrovic Basketball center in the Croatian capital. Mirza Teletovic sank the go-ahead three with 1:22 remaining, Carl English added 2 clutch free throws with 20 seconds to play and the Laboral defense denied Cibona in the closing seconds to give head coach Dusko Ivanovic's side its first win in Group H. With star center Tiago Splitter and his backup Stanko Barac also out, Lior Eliyahu stepped up with 22 points and 9 rebounds to lead Laboral. English made 4 of 5 three-pointers for 17 points, Teletovic added 16 points and 5 assists, Walter Herrmann scored 10 and Marcelinho Huertas dished 8 assists for the winners, who host BC Khimki Moscow Region next week. Cibona, which travels to Olympiacos to seek its first Top 16 win next week, got 22 points from Marko Tomas, while Jamont Gordon recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds and Luksa Andric scored 13. It was all Cibona early as the hosts scored the game’s first 7 points and led by as much as 33-16 midway through the second quarter. The halftime score was 41-33, but Cibona continued to fight and came back behind Eliyahu and Teletovic to make a game of it. The scored switched hands another of times in the closing minutes before Teletovic and English scored their game-deciding points to steer Laboral to an important win.
Cibona got off to an ideal start, using its energy to wash the court and take a 7-0 lead. Gordon got his team going with a layup in transition and then Samo Udrih scored and assisted to Vedran Vukusic to complete the run. Eliyahu used his speed to get to the basket and score twice to help the visitors break the ice. Tomas connected from downtown to make it 11-7, but a Herrmann triple kept Caja Laboral close. Gordon attacked the rim for a vicious slam that put the home fans on their feet. Andric added a score, Gordon banked one in and Bojan Bogdanovic completed a three-point play as the hosts dominated. A full-court press after the free throw surprised the visitors and Andric fired in a triple to put Cibona up 12. Huertas hit a short jumper to bring Laboral within 23-13 after 10 minutes.
Cibona made the most of its height advantage as Andric nailed a hook shot and then Tomas stuck from outside to raise the gap even more. Laboral was using its speed and passing to get looks from behind the arc, but only Pau Ribas connected. Tomas outran Laboral for and layup-plus-foul on the fast break to push the advantage to 33-16. English answered from downtown and Eliyahu came through with a basket-plus-foul to keep Laboral’s hopes alive. Both teams fell in love with the three-pointer, but both missed a few too. Teletovic’s layup in transition capped a 0-7 Laboral spurt. Eliyahu was first to a loose ball and took it in for a slam, but Tomas stayed hot for Cibona with 4 points to restore a comfortable lead. Eliyahu used his soft tough to net a bucket and English sank a three-from the corner at the buzzer to keep Laboral within 41-33 at halftime.
Herrmann banked in a shot to open the second half and Teletovic soon drilled a deep three, but Tomas fought through the Laboral defense for a three-point play to keep Cibona in control. Huertas countered by weaving through the Cibona defense to draw a foul and sink 2 shots. He then sent a pass helf the length of the court to Eliyahu for a slam that cut the gap to 48-44. Andric scored for Cibona, but a Herrmann triple further narrowed the gap and after a timeout, Teletovic struck again to knot the game at 50-50.
Gordon came back with a basket, but a red-hot Teletovic buried a deep jumper and Eliyahi scored from the baseline to give Laboral its first lead, 52-54. After an English triple was ruled to be after the buzzer, Leon Radosevic scored twice to put Cibona back on top. English came back with another triple, but Gordon scored on the offensive glass as the lead continued to change hands. Udrih tacked on a long jumper to put the hosts ahead 60-58 after three quarters.
Gordon and Radosevic helped Cibona push to 5 ahead and the Laboral threes stopped falling. A pretty spin move from Udrih made it 65-58 before Fernando San Emeterio came on the board with 2 free throws. Andric on the offensive glass kept Cibona cruising, but Huertas scored and then assisted Eliyahu as Laboral continued to chase. Eliyahu reached 20 points and narrowed the gap to 3 with just over four minutes remaining. Then San Emeterio zipped to the basket and made it a 1-point game. Bogdanovic lost the ball out of bounds and Tomas missed a three on consecutive possessions before English connected from downtown to give Laboral its first lead of the fourth quarter, 69-71. Tomas worked his way to a shot just before the 24-second clock expired and after Teletovic missed a three, Tomas darted in from the sideline to put Cibona back on top, 73-71, with 1:47 remaining. After a Laboral timeout, San Emeterio came through with a clutch offensive rebound and Teletovic nailed a three to put his team up 1 with 1:22 to go. Both teams came up short before Andric was called for an offensive foul after colliding with San Emeterio after setting a pick with 26.4 seconds left. Cibona sent English to the line and he sank both. Tomas attacked the basket and was fouled, although he missed a flick to create a three-point play. Tomas sank both with 19.9 seconds left. A strange skip pass from Teletovic to Huertas allowed Gordon to tie him up. The possession arrow was Cibona’s which took the ball fro the game-winning shot. But Radosevic and Tomas both missed, English grabbed the ball and zoomed downcourt and Eliyahu scored at the buzzer to wrap a 75-78 Caja Laboral win.
Thursday, February 4, 2010