Cedevita Zagreb hold on to beat Efes at home
Cedevita Zagreb recorded its second victory over Anadolu Efes Istanbul this season and its first at home on Thursday with an 84-80 win at Drazen Petrovic Zagreb. The hosts led by as many as 13 in the third quarter before Derrick Brown led an Efes comeback. The fourth quarter had plenty of drama and featured six lead changes and two ties before Cedevita’s two stars of the game, Miro Bilan and Marko Arapovic, came together on the go-ahead basket and Jacob Pullen iced with a clutch jumper with 9.7 seconds remaining. The win bumped Cedevita’s record to 2-2 in Group E of the Top 16, while Efes now sports the same mark. Bilan and Arapovic scored 16 point apiece to pace the winners, while Luka Babic posted 12 points and 10 rebounds, Fan Pilepic also scored 12 and Pullen 11. Derrick Brown led Efes with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, Dario Saric added 16 points and Thomas Heurtel delivered 12 points and 10 assists in defeat.
First quarter: Unstoppable Bilan pushes hosts ahead
Heurtel made a perfect entry pass to Alex Tyus for a layup and game’s first points. Bilan backed down Saric to get the hosts going. Then Karlo Zganec scored inside and James White hit a three from the corner to put the hosts up 7-2. Saric heated up with a jumper and a triple sandwiching Bilan free throws. Great passing led to a Zganec layup. The same player soon made free throws for a 13-7 advantage. Cedi Osman connected from downtown, but Bilan went to work in the low post to shake off Bryant Dunston and keep the hosts on a roll. Saric finished inside to make it 15-12 midway through the quarter. After a timeout, Luka Babic drilled a three and Bilan faked out Dunston again to put the hosts up 8. Dunston got some revenge with a three-point play. Saric posted up Henry Walker for a hook shot that drew the visitors within 3. Pullen pickpocketed Jayson granger for a layup and after Dunson split free throws, Bilan put Cedevita up 6 with a tip-in. Osman attacked the glass for a put-back to bring Efes within 24-20 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Heurtel and Brown put Efes on track
Granger hit a pull-up jumper and Brown drilled a triple to give Efes its first lead, 24-25. Bilan overcame a double team for a scoop shot. Granger found a cutting Diebler for a layup, but Bilan buried a jumper at the other end. Walker collected a pair of steals to frustrate the visitors and Fran Pilepic added free throws for a 30-27 lead. After Brown trimmed the gap, Granger’s well-time put-back gave Efes control. After a timeout, Pilepic buried a tough three, but Granger drove for a layup that tied it at 33-33. After Heurtel made a brilliant pass to Saric for a layup, Zganec faked out a defender and set up Arapovic for a layup. After a Heurtel floater, Babic scored thanks to a pretty pass from Pilepic. Diebler struck from downtown to make it 37-40. Nemanja Gordic stepped up with 4 points – including a tip-in of his own missed shot – as the hosts went ahead again. Arapovic shined with a dunk before Brown knocked down a pull-up jumper. Gordic left a pass for Bilan, who scored and was fouled. Heurtel and Arapovic traded baskets before Diebler’s second triple tied it at 47-47 at the break.
Third quarter: Arapovic powers Cedevita to double-digit lead
Cedevita went to Arapovic inside to start the second-half scoring. Heurtel dished to a cutting Osman to tie it again. After Arapovic’s put-back, Pullen sank a pull-up three in transition. After Tyus split free throws, Arapovic stormed the offensive glass again for a three-point play and a 57-50 advantage. White scored inside and after a timeout Pullen added a layup for a double-digit lead. Four Cedevita players touched the ball on a break that ended in a Babic layup and a 63-50 lead. Brown tried to revive the visitors with a two-handed jam and Saric added a three-point play. Heurtel shook off a defender for a layup as Efes came within 64-57. Arapovic split free throws, but Heurtel countered with a layup to bring Efes within 65-59.
Fourth quarter: After six lead changes, Cedevita stands tall
Brown’s tip-in-plus-foul, steal and basket inside brought Efes within 1. After Babic’s fancy play for a layup, Brown tied the game at 67-67 with a three-pointer. Saric capped a 2-10 Efes run with a layup that put the visitors ahead. Pilepic tied it gain with a long jumper before Arapovic found Babic for a three-point play. Pullen split free throws to put the hosts up 74-69. Efes turned to Birkan Batuk, who nailed back-to-back triples – both from Heurtel assists – to put the visitors ahead. Pilepic and Heurtel traded threes and the intensity rose. Zganec split free throws to tie things at 78-78 with two and a half minutes remaining. Bilan tipped an offensive rebound to Arapovic for a slam and a Cedevita lead. Brown came up with a pair of blocked shots to keep Efes in the game, but Pullen sank a rainbow jumper with 9.7 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game. After Diebler split free throws, Pilepic made 2 with 7.3 seconds left for an 84-79 lead. Efes called timeout with an eye toward trimming the deficit for tiebreaker purposes and Heurtel split free throws before Cedevita went off to celebrate.
Thursday, January 21, 2016