RheinEnergie Cologne pushed its candidacy as the real power of Group C with a resounding 98-60 defeat of visiting Darussafaka Istanbul on Tuesday. All the Cologne players contributed something and their push for 100 points had the home fans celebrating. Guard Sasa Obradovic led all scorers with 17 points for Cologne. He was followed by first-half catalyst Zoran Kukic with 13 center Geert Hammink with 10. The team defense of Cologne was the star of the second half as Darussafaka was held to just 18 points in 20 minutes. Darussafaka got 15 points from forward Derek Grimm, 14 from guard Hakan Koseoglo and 13 from center Acie Earl who added 13, but they weren't enough to keep the record of the Turkish side from dropping to 0-2.
RheinEnergie ran ahead by 7 points after 6 minutes, 16-9, thanks to a good start by Hammink and guard Vladimir Bogojevic. Darrussafaka tried to stop the run with a time out, but RheinEnergie had things going its way at the beginning, and lengthened the advantage until a high lead of 21-2 after 8 minutes. Darrussafaka built a 5-0 run on points by Earl and guard Ufuk Sarica, but the Germans kept the lead until the quarter ended, 26-20, on a jumper in the closing seconds by Kukic. Grimm dragged Darussafaka closer and closer to the hosts, scoring 6 strong points to first tie the score first, and then to give the guests a first lead of the game at 31-33. Obradovic sank a huge three-pointer, however, to take back the lead for Cologna. That sparked a 12-4 in the last two minutes as the hosts were able to restore a solid lead, 50-42, at the half.
Cologne had more energy coming out in the second half and was able to post the game's key run right away. Hammink and Obradovic put up 5 points each as Rhein Energie ran away to a 14-points lead, 63-49. Cologna also found the way to limit the damage done by Earl, closing the defense in such away that only Koseoglu was open enough to score from the field for Darussafaka in the third quater. , the only player to score from the field in the third period. The visitors' 9 points in 10 minutes seemed even less as Obradovic and young guard Johann Strasser drilled back-to-back triples to boost Cologne's lead to 19 points, 70-51. The game had already been decided, so Cologne gave time on court to its bench players, but the run continued until the finish.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002