Climamio stayed on course to finish first in Group A after rallying to beat visiting Prokom Trefl Sopot 71-63 on Thursday in a game between already-qualified Top 16 teams. Erazem Lorbek scored 9 of his 17 points in the final quarter to help push Climamio's record to 11-2. Another victory in the last regular season game would clinch first place for Climamio even if it continues tied on wins with Efes Pilsen. Thursday's defeat dropped Prokom Trefl to 6-7 and assured it fifth place at the end of the regular season. After Lorbek, Climamio was helped by 16 points by Martin Rancik, while Ruben Douglas added 15. For the guests, Goran Jagodnik scored a game-high 20 points while Mark Miller ended with 15.
Douglas stepped on court with 5 points in 2 minutes as Climamio jumped to a quick 6-0 edge. Prokom looked in the low post for Jagodnik, who used his size advantage against Gianluca Basile to score 4 straight points. Adding a couple of three-pointers - one from Jagodnik, one from Tomas Pacesas - Prokom took its first lead at 8-10 and tried to stay ahead despite Martin Rancik's pair of jump shots for Climamio. The guests found plenty of long rebounds and still led, 13-14 after 8 minutes. Then, Marco Belinelli came off the bench and found 2 foul shots off the bench to put Climamio ahead again, but center Aleksandar Radojevic had a put-back and slam dunk to push Prokom back in front, 15-18, after 10 minutes.
Radojevic started second quarter goal-tending Lorbek as Climamio tied 18-18 and went to a 2-3 zone defense. It worked well as Prokom got no points in 4 minutes, 38 seconds while the hosts took their biggest lead yet, 22-18 on foul shots by Lorbek. Then, Miller was flagrantly fouled while scoring and Prokom got back the lead with a 0-5 run in a minute. Dalibor Bagaric and Milos Vujanic, with a three-pointer, gave Climamio back a four-point lead, 27-23. But Miller caught fire: his long-range strike put Prokom ahead, 29-30, and soon after he drove the lane for his team's biggest lead yet, 29-33 after 18 minutes. Rancik nailed a triple after that for Climamio, but Prokom dominated the boards and got 12 points in the quarter from Miller to stay ahead at the half, 34-35.
Adam Wojcik and Jagodnik opened the third quarter by giving Prokom a new high lead 34-39. That got even higher when Wojcik dunked a rebound to make it 34-41. A put-back by Rancik was the only Climamio basket in 4 minutes before Basile hit from downtown to make it 39-43. Against the zone, Prokom found good open shots, but missed them, allowing Climamio to climb back within 46-48 on another three by Basile. Step by step, Climamio gained confidence until re-taking the lead, 49-48, on points by Lorbek, but Pacesas responded with a triple to grab another lead for Prokom, 49-51, after 30 minutes.
Lorbek tied the game again early in the final quarter, but rebounds were still problems for the hosts, who suffered another put-back by Radojevic. Lorbek became the go-to-guy, scoring a three-pointer, dunking a nice pass from Vujanic and blocking a shot on defense. Lorbek's work allowed Climamio to take its highest lead yet, 60-55, on a basket by Rancik with 6 minutes to play. Douglas scored with a pull-up fastbreak jumper as the lead reached 64-56, but Prokom responded with a 0-5 run to come within 64-61 with 2:30 on the clock. Here, Rancik resurfaced with a bucket-and-free throw and Douglas put the game away with a fastbreak layup that made it 69-61 with not enough time left for Prokom to rally.
Thursday, February 3, 2005