Montepaschi Siena beat Efes Pilsen 93-87
Montepaschi Siena finished its 2009-10 Euroleague season on a good note by edging Efes Pilsen 93-87 at home in Group F on Thursday. Montepaschi finished third in Group F with a 3-3 record due to its tie-break disadvantage against Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Efes was fourth at 2-4. Both teams had already ran out of chances to advance last week but pleased fans at PalaMensSana with a run-and-gun, attractive game that went down to the wire. Romain Sato and David Hawkins paced the winners each with 22 points. Terrell McIntyre added 14 while Ksistof Lavrinovic had 11 for Montepaschi. Charles Smith led Efes with 15 points. Bootsy Thornton added 14 against his former team, Preston Shumpert had 11 while Kaya Peker got 10 for the guests. Sato and McIntyre allowed Montepaschi to get a 26-18 lead after 10 minutes. Ermal Kuqo and Boki Nachbar fueled the guests' comeback and a three-pointer by Shumpert allowed Efes to get a 37-38 edge. Lavrinovic led a 13-0 run that allowed Montepaschi to get a 50-40 halftime margin. Efes used a 1-12 run to return to the game and Smith gave his team a 76-77 edge midaway through the fourth quarter. Efes got its last lead at 84-85, as Sato, Shaun Stonerook and McIntyre stepped up in the final 3 minutes to win it for the hosts.
Hawkins got Montepaschi going with free throws but Kerem Tunceri answered from downtown for a 2-3 Efes edge. Montepaschi tried to open the floor from the very beginning and Lavrinovic stepped up with an open triple. Thornton shined with a high-flying put-back layup and Smith struck from downtown to make Efes regain a 7-8 edge. Efes tried to use long possessions to find open shots for either Smith or Thornton. Smith scored in transition and free throws by Peker made it a five-point game, 7-12. McIntyre downed a three-pointer off a screen, as Tunceri left the game with an injury. Smith kept pacing Efes with a step-back jumper that McIntyre improved with a triple. Thornton sank free throws but a big triple by Sato ignited a 7-0 run that Hawkins capped with a layup to give Montepaschi a 20-16 lead. Peker silenced the crowd with a dunk but a red hot Sato sank a jumper and Lavrinovic scored down low for a six-point Montepaschi lead, 24-18. A dunk by Denis Marconato boosted the hosts' lead to 26-18 lead after 10 minutes.
Nachbar and Igor Rakocevic sank free throws early in the second quarter and a layup by Kuqo brought Efes back to life, 27-25. Nachbar capped a 1-9 run with more foul shots to tie it at 27-27. Hawkins rescued Montepaschi with a three-pointer, igniting a 8-0 run in which Marco Carrareto also struck from downtown for a 35-27 lead. Shumpert downed a triple, Kuqo scored in the paint and a free throw by Nachbar soon kept Efes as close as 37-35. Efes kept its momentum going, as Kuqo fed Shumpert for a three-pointer from the top of the key to put his team back ahead, 37-38. Nikos Zisis scored in transition and Hawkins struck from downtown to give Montepaschi some fresh air at 42-38. Efes struggled to score late in the first half and could not get its big men involved. Meanwhile, Lavrinovic hit free throws and Hawkins turned a midcourt steal into a layup-plus-foul that made it a double-digit game, 48-38. Lavrinovic capped a 13-0 run with a power basket, as a backdoor layup by Kuqo fixed the halftime score at 50-40.
Bojan Popovic scored off a steal immediately after the break and Mario Kasun finished a four-chance Efes offense with a put-back layup to bring the guests within 50-44. Sato hit free throws and McIntyre downed his trademark running triple to keep Montepaschi out of trouble, 55-44. Efes lacked intensity at both ends and Sato banked in an open jumper to make it a 13-point game, 57-44. Thronton downed a long jumper that Hawkins erased with a layup in transition. Efes improved its defense with Kuqo and Smith shined with a fallaway jumper for a 59-48 deficit. Sato provided a highlight with a dunk-and-foul that made the guests call timeout at 62-48. Peker scored in the paint and a three-point play by Shumpert gave Efes some hope at 62-53. Peker capped a 0-7 run with another easy basket while Sato and Smith traded free throws for a 64-57 score. Uros Slokar stepped up with a layup and Domercant added a mid-range jumper but foul shots by Shumpert and Popovic kept Efes within 68-61. McIntyre sank 3-of-4 free throws and fed Benjamin Eze for a layup but Thornton, Popovic and a layup by Peker brought Efes even closer, 73-68, after 30 minutes.
Sinan Guler buried an open triple early in the fourth quarter and Smith dunked it off a steal to make Montepaschi call timeout at 73-73, after a 1-12 run. Hawkins took over with a step-back three-pointer, as the hosts brought Shaun Stonerook back on the floor to improve its defense. Popovic shined with a layup-plus-foul, as Efes kept its momentum going with Shumpert at power forward. Smith completed the guests' comeback with a free throw, 76-77. Zisis found space for an uncontested layup and soon added free throws for a 80-77 Montepaschi edge. Both teams had entered the foul bonus with 6 minutes left. Hawkins scored in the low post and matched Kasun's dunk with a jumper that gave the hosts a 84-79 edge. Thornton followed a corner triple with a second-chance layup in a 0-6 run that put Efes back ahead, 84-85. Sato scored down low and soon added a put-back layup to give Montepaschi a four-point lead, 89-85, with less than 2 minutes to go. Peker rescued Efes with a layup but free throws by Stonerook allowed the hosts to keep a 91-87 edge with 35 seconds left. Efes committed a turnover off a timeout and McIntyre sealed the outcome from the foul line.
Thursday, March 11, 2010