Benetton ended the chances of AEK to keep trying for the Top 16 when it dominated their Group duel 103-83 at home in Treviso, Italy on Thursday. Benetton improved to 8-5 and is fourth in the Group A standings, but cannot move down nor up with a week left. AEK dropped to 3-10 and is now mathematically eliminated. Uros Slokar and Drew Nicholas led the winners each with 20 points. Slokar made 8 of 9 shots and grabbed 8 rebounds, while Nicholas fired in 5 of 6 triples. Andrea Bargnani and Marcus Goree added 14 points apiece for Benetton. Giannis Bouroussis led AEK with 26 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 8 rebounds. Lionel Chalmers added 20 points and 5 assists while Panteleimon Papaioakim scored 10 points for the guests. Benetton made 24 of 33 two-pointers and 15 of 23 threes in an outstanding shooting exhibition that allowed the hosts to get a 55-37 lead and never look back.
Nicholas got Benetton going with a pair of free throws while Pantelis Papaioakeim tied for AEK with a drive. Ramunas Siskauskas, Goree and Slokar gave Benetton the first big lead then, 8-2 after 3 minutes. Benetton’s defense put AEK off doing pick-and-roll plays and Goree, after rebounding, sank a jumper for a 10-2 score. Boroussis broke the run with a triple that Slokar erased with one of his own. Nicholas and Chalmers then traded layups and three-pointers for an 18-10 score before Andrea Bargnani came off the bench to hit 5 points in a row for the hosts to make it 23-12. Slave Rimac hit a three-pointer, giving AEK the last spark of the quarter, which Bourossis finished with back-to-back baskets for a 25-19 score after 10 minutes.
Rimaunus Siskauskas opened second quarter with 4 straight points before Nicholas took over, first doing the same on one shot, a triple-plus-free throw to give Benetton a 33-21 edge. He then landed back-to-back triples to set a 39-23 scoreboard. Nicolaos Papanikolau tried to revive AEK with a three-pointer but Benetton responded with a 13-0 run, ballooned by three-pointers from Bargnani, Goree and Nicholas, to double AEK's score at 52-26. Free throws by Bouroussis unlocked the scoreboard for the guests and Papaiokeim hit 6 straight points down the stretch to get AEK off the 20-point wall, 55-37 at the halftime.
Siskauskas sank a three-pointer to open the second half and Benetton went up by 24 points when Slokar added another. Benetton kept feeding Slokar and he kept answering with layups off nice cuts to the baskets. His 9 consecutive points made it 68-4. Chalmers fired back-to-back triples but Slokar wasn’t done as he scored to an ovation from the Treviso fans. When AEK switched to zone, Matteo Soragna scored from downtown and added a floater to make it 75-49. AEK mounted a 4-11 run to end the quarter as Papanikolaou and Chalmers banged in triples that fixed a 79-60 score after 30 minutes.
Bargnani’s layup-with-free throw gave Benetton an 82-60 lead after 1 minute in the fourth quarter. Slokar pushed that up to 86-62, while Chalmers and Dror Hagag hit shots for the guests. Bargnani nailed a triple that let David Blatt empty the bench for the hosts. Boroussis foul shots and a three-pointer after while trying to make the score look more respectble. He got the difference below 20 points at 96-78 but Benetton scored with the bench players too as Ernests Kalve scored a basket-and-free throw to top the 100-point mark on the way to a 103-83 final score.
Thursday, February 2, 2006