Climamio maintained its chances to finish first or second in Group A when it buried visiting Strasbourg 71-47 on Thursday in Bologna, Italy. Climamio did it with defense, forcing an incredible 33 turnovers on Strasbourg in a game that was one-sided throughout. Climamio is now 8-4 and tied with Zalgiris for second place in Group A. They play each other in the last regular season game. Strasbourg fell to 3-9 and is left only with remote mathematical chances of finishing with the best sixth-place record in any group, which comes with passage to the Top 16. Marco Belinelli led the winners in scoring with 18 points, while Erazem Lorbek had 13 and Nate Green 11. Not a single Strasbourg player scored in double digits. Jeff Greer led the visitors with 8 points.
Belinelli got Climamio going with a jumper, and soon the hosts applied fullcourt pressure that Strasbourg had trouble with immediately. Lorbek, with nice moves close the basket, scored 6 unanswered points to make it 9-1. Belinelli converted a steal in an easy layup to force a Strasbourg timeout at 11-1. Strasbourg struggled to cross halfcourt as Lorbek, fed by Dalibor Bagaric, made it 13-1. Finally, Jeff Greer scored from the line to give the guests some oxygen, but Stefano Mancinelli nailed a three-pointer for a 16-3 Climamio lead. John McCord roused Strasbourg with the team's first basket, after 7 minutes. He proceeded to score the first 7 points in a 0-9 run that finished with Zelly Wesson's free throws and Climamio leading by just 16-12 after one quarter.
Tomas Ress revived Climamio with a dunked-plus-free throw to open the second quarter. After 5 minutes of scoring silence, the hosts were ready for another big run. Travis Watson hit from the lane, Belinelli nailed jumpers and Green scored free throws to cap a 13-0 break and fix a 29-12 scoreboard. Jeff Grerr hit a three-pointer to break the drought, 29-15, while Climamio was now dominating the boards thanks to Bagaric. Jeff Greer landed another triple to make it 31-20 and force a Climamio timeout. New point guard Bobby Joe Hatton scored foul shots for Strasbourg, but Climamio got the last run of the half as Kiwane Garris hit a triple and Belinelli dunked to make it 36-22 after 20 minutes.
Climamio had to wait 2:30 for its first basket of the second half. Bagaric dunked to break the spell then dished a no-look pass to Mancinelli for a reverse dunk that made it 40-24. Strasbourg responded with a 0-6 run with layups from Aymeric Jeanneau, Wesson and Ricardo Greer, getting within 40-30. Lorbek, with a three-pointer, and Watson, with a couple of drives, helped put Climamio clearly back in charge at 47-30, however. Garris fed Lorbek and Rodolfo Rombaldoni landed a three-pointer to finish a new 12-0 run that helped vault Climamio to a 25-point lead, 56-31, after 30 minutes.
Green continued where he had left off the previous quarter, scoring a three-pointer to begin the fourth. Belinelli hit a jumper, then stole and drilled a three-pointer as the difference ballooned to 64-33. Climaimo emptied its bench but kept the pressure up. From the guests' bench, Elson Mendy came in to make a difficult three-pointer and an assist to Sacha Giffa. When Ress dunked after that, it was the final credit rolling on another blowout home win by Climamio.
Thursday, January 26, 2006