Bennet Cantu bested Bizkaia Bilbao 78-69
Bennet Cantu outdueled Bizkaia Bilbao Basket 78-69 to secure sole possession of second place in Group A. Giorgi Shermadini was the hero with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting and 6 rebounds for the winners. Cantu won its second straight home game and now boasts a 2-1 record. Maarten Leunen added 14 points, Manuchar Markoishvili scored 12 and Andrea Cinciarini produced 12 points and 6 assists for head coach Andrea Trinchieri. Cantu led 42-31 at the half, but Bilbao battled back and cut the lead to 5 in the fourth. Cantu, however, always answered by finding an open shot through its good ball movement. The hosts also won the battle of the offensive boards, 9-4. Alex Mumbru paced Bilbao with 20 points and Marko Banic added 19. Bilbao was foiled by poor foul shooting, especially down the stretch.
Vladimir Micov opened the scoring for Cantu, before Roger Grimau nailed next two baskets to give Bilbao a 2-4 lead. After Mumbru hit free throws, Markoishvili tied the game at 6-6 on a jumper from the corner. Mumbru drained a bomb from way downtown. Shermadini hit his first basket to bring Cantu within 8-9 at the halfway mark. The scoring pace quickened as Micov drained a 3-pointer, and Markoishvili added 2 in transition as Cantu went up 12-9. D’or Fischer answered before Shermadini filled the basket on a dunk and then a lay-in on a nice wraparound pass from Cinciarini to widen the lead to 16-11. Mumbru hit a jumper and a fall away in the paint to make it 18-15 after 10 minutes.
A Janis Blums layup and Nicolas Mazzarino basket took the game to 20-17. Dimitrios Mavroeidis hit on a la up, then Bilbao edged out front on Banic’s first basket. A Cinciarini basket and Marko Scekic foul shots added 4 points for Cantu, then Banic scored again. The seesaw turned Cantu’s way at this point as the hosts scored the next 10 points on three-pointers by Leunen and Mazzarino, followed by baskets from Micov on an uncontested drive and another putback on the offensive boards by Shermadini to vault ahead 34-23. Micov split foul shots, then Bilbao answered with 4 points on foul shots by Banic and dunk by Fischer to cut the lead to single digits again, 35-27. Leunen split free throws and Shermadini demonstrated his effectiveness again on the offensive boards with a layin to push the lead to 11. After Markoishvili free throws, Banic made his presence felt on a textbook fastbreak and subsequent two-pointer on a nicely executed play to cut the lead to 40-31 with 5 seconds left. Micov took the inbounds pass and went coast-to-coast, finishing the play with a layin high off the glasss to keep Cantu’s lead in double digits at halftime, 42-31.
Axel Hervelle got Bilbao in the scoring column, 42-33, but Shermadini came up big again underneath, jamming it down to go up 44-33. Mumbru answered off the glass. Then Banic knocked down a mid-range jumper, cutting lead to 44-37. Mumbru drove left and layed in a floater, as Bilbao got within striking distance, 44-39. Gianluca Basile stepped up with a three-pointer to create breathing room for Cantu again at 47-39. Leunen got a good look from downtown and drained it to pump the cushion further. Hervelle came up with a with short-range jumper, then Scekic chipped in off the glass, 52-43. Leunen drained another three-pointer after which Banic scored too. Basile took advantage of another clean look to bang home a triple and extend the lead to 58-45. Hervelle split free throws, followed by Cinciarini’s squirming drive to the basket for a 60-46 advantage. Bilbao ended the quarter with 4 consecutive points on Blums free throws and a Banic layin to get within 60-50.
Cinciarini hit free throws, but Bilbao answered through Fischer and Mumbru. Janis Blums knocked down a quick-release bomb from downtown to get to 64-57, then Fischer brought the visitors back to within 5 on a turnaround in the paint. Cantu got 2 points from Shermadini, who rammed it home again, 66-59. Fischer kept up his scoring touch, this time from outside, 66-61. Luenen, after dishing the ball to Markoishvili for a three from the corner, then hit a jumper on the next possession and extended the lead to double-digits again, 71-61. Banic was fouled on the next two trips down the floor, but only closed the deficit to 8. After Leunen made 2 free throws, Mumbru nailed a triple that pulled Bilbao to 73-67 with a little more than two minutes to go. Cinciarini kicked it out to Markoishvili, who answered with a critical three-pointer for Cantu to put pressure on Bilbao at 76-67. Mumbru went uncontested to the basket as Cantu avoided the foul. Scekic scored the last basket of the game with a layin at the 40-second mark to seal the outcome.
Thursday, November 3, 2011