Benetton Treviso kept its homecourt safe again by taking care of a Group C showdown by rolling past Fenerbahce Ulker 93-83 on Wednesday. Thanks to a balanced game on all counts, Benetton raised its record to 2-1 while keeping Fenerbahce from its first Euroleague victory for a third consecutive week. With six players scoring in double digits and five dishing 3 or more assists, Benetton's was an all-inclusive victory. Marcus Goree and Nikos Zisis scored 17 points each, while Marco Mordente added 16, Spencer Nelson 13, Angelo Gigli and Matteo Soragna 11 each. Spencer added 10 rebounds, Goree 7 and Zisis 7 assists. Fenerbahce got 25 points out of Kaspars Kambala and 18 from Willie Solomon, but suffered from a 25-8 disadvantage in assists.
Kambala got Fenerbahce going first by forcing his way to the basket. Soon, after a three-pointer from Kutluay put Fenerbahce up 0-5, Benetton answered with quick buckets in the paint from Beard and Goree. Both teams kept going inside as Goree scored again and Kambala kept troubling the hosts, drawing consecutive fouls and coolly sinking free throws to make it 8-10. Matt Santangelo cut to the hoop to continue a series of ties. Kambala scored from the foul line again, Nelson dunked, Terrell Lyday made free throws, Omer Onan drove, Solomon hit a jumper and Zisis a layup until it was 18-18. That, however, is when Benetton let loose with a 5-0 spurt sparked by Mordente's first triple. When Spencer added a layup and his own shot from the arc, it was 28-20. Mordente would hit a second bomb, but Rasim Basak ended the quarter the same way to keep Fenerbahce as close as 31-27 after 10 minutes.
When Damir Mrsic started the second quarter with a three-pointer, the visitors were within 31-30. Nelson dunked on the break, while Mordente launched his third strike from the arc and Zisis his first to keep Fenerbahce down until Gigli arrived with free throws to make it 41-32 for Benetton. That 8-0 run forced a Fenerbahce timeout, after which Ira Clark dunked and buried a catch-and-shoot three-pointer to bring Fenerbahce within 6 points at 43-37. Zisis and Soragna, who drew Kutluay's third foul, restored a nine-point cushion at 46-37 for Benetton, but Solomon soon cut it by a three-pointer and Onan hit a layup to make it a four-point game, 48-44. Zizis was now the answer man for Benetton, with a three-pionter that Soragna copied to forge a double-digit difference at 54-44. Goree closed the half with 4 points in the final minute to put Benetton fully in charge at 58-44.
The third quarter saw both teams struggled to find the basket until Mrsic broke the ice with a corner triple and Onan followed with a fastbreak basket that cut the difference to single digits, 58-49. Spencer came back on with immediate impact, rebounding and scoring on the resulting attack. Kambala caught fire again, however, dunking twice to force a Benetton timeout as the lead was melting like ice to 60-55. After Zizis and Solomon traded 2 points each, Mordente got the Treviso crowd involved with his fourth triple of the night. Kambala kept Fenerbahce within 6 points with free throws, while Gigli triple was answered with a spectacular dunk from young pivot Semih Erden. Gilgi stayed hot as he drilled a mid-range jumper and slammed to make it 72-63. Kambala's free throw and a Solomon triple kept Fenerbahce hoping until Soragna hooked in a buzzer-beater to give Benetton extra breathing room at 74-67 after 30 minutes.
Oguz Savas tried to ignite a comeback for Aris with a power play to start the final quarter, and when Erdin drilled a three to beat the shot clock, it was a whole new ball game at 74-72. Goree stepped up and saved Benetton with free throws and a jumper, but Kambala answered with a layup. The tension was high before Goree all but settled matters with a triple that supplied a new nine-point edge, 83-74 with 6 minutes left. A series of free throws followed that only served to bring Fenerbahce a couple points closer, at 85-78, after which a steal by Mordente sent Soragna for an easy layup. Fenerbahce's full court press did not keep Goree from showing the way for the hosts to a 89-81 scoreboard with 2 minuts left. Benetton allowed no easy shots now, and in so doing, cruised to its second Group C victory.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006