RheinEnergie Cologne is the fourth team to earn a 3-0 record in the ULEB cup and retains its share of first place in Group B, after defeating Elan Chalon 86-76 at the end of a close game. Veteran point guard Sasha Obradovic has been the best scorer for RheinEnergie again with 21 points, while Geert Hammink put up 19 and Zoran Kukic 16 for the winners. For Chhalon, center Udonis Haslem, forward Stanley Jackson and gaurd Corey Crowder reached double figure netting 16, 11 and 10 points, respectively. RheinEnergie is now tied at the top of the group with Krka. The two teams meet next week in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. Chalon falls to 1-2 in the group standings.
RheinEnergie took the lead at the end of first quarter, 27-20, after alternating slim advantages with Chalon, but Obradovic scored 12 of his points in the first 10 minutes to keep the hosts ahead. Forward Luc Arthur Vebobe answered with 9 points for the French team, but Kukic was already warming up as an extra weapon for the home team. By the middle of the second quarter, he had made 5 of 6 shots to reach 10 points. Nearing the half, RheinEnergie maintained control of the game, leading by several points as forward Clint Harrison also reached 11 after 20 minutes. Veteran guard Laurent Pluvy was on the court for Chalon, and his three-pointers kept the visitors close at 45-44 after 20 minutes.
Chalon stormed out after the half and took its first lead in the game, 53-56, thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Crowder. But Cologne quickly tied the game on baskets by Drazen Tomic and Hammink, who was a force on the board. That started a run in which the hosts outscored Chalon 11-2 in 3 minutes as Stephen Arigbabu and Gerritt Terdenge added their points. The hosts were able with that surge to lead 64-59 after three quarters. The last period opened badly for Chalon, as Jackson and Calvary fouled out, but the French team was able to get as close as 65-62 with another three-pointer by Pluvy. Chalon was still alive, 71-65, with 6 minutes to play, when RheinEnergie made its final push to lead 76-69. Chalon was unable to come back and a layup in the last 60 seconds by Tomic along with free throws scored by Hammink gave the locals their third win is as many tries.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002