Metis of Varese moved into a first-place tie in Group D on Tuesday by defeating Cholet Basket 81-76 at home in Italy at the end of a close game that the French team controlled until the break. Varese went to its big men, particularly Shawnelle Scott, in teh second half to pull gradually away to victory. Varese is now 3-1 and tied with Zadar for the Group D lead, while Cholet is one of only two ULEB Cup teams without a win, at 0-4. The main man for the winners was once again Scott who posted a double-double of 21 points and 10 boards, with all but four of his points coming in the second half. Boris Gorenc added 20 for the winners and power forward Paolo Conti bagged 17 others. For the guests from Cholet, DeRon Hayes posted 16 and K'Zell Wesson set a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards.
Cholet started to take the control of the game early in the first period thanks to better decision-making and shooting percentage. Varese had the control of the boards but suffered bad offensive choices and the tough defense of French team. After 10 minutes the guest were leading 17-21, and they continued to play with the right attitude: defense and good shooting distribution in the offensive end. They maintained their advantage and thanks to the three-point shooting accuracy of forward DeRon Hayes (3 for 3 from downtown in the half) increased their lead to 36-44 at the break. If Varese already had 18 rebounds pulled down against 11 of Cholet, the guests had a scoring contribution from all the players aligned on the court, while Metis had just four players in the scoring column, led by Conti with 15 points. Hayes led Cholet with 11.
When the teams were back on the wood for the second half, Metis Varese changed its way of playing, and started to feed its centers and use its size advantage. The first 5 minutes brought the hosts closer at 51-52 but the seocnd part of the third period were decisive to take over the lead and excite the crowd. Cholet trid to resist, but its percentages became poor and Varese already controlled the boards. During the last 10 minutes, increasing the defensive pressure and relying on Scott put Varese solidly ahead at 71-62 with just 5 minutes remaining. This would not be Cholet's night to get a first victory, but Varese's to taste first place.
Tuesday, November 5, 2002