Launching itself with an incredible 17-0 start after the opening tipoff, Cibona VIP cruised to a 94-83 win over Ulker on Tuesday in the replay of their Week 5 game in Group A. With the victory, Cibona moved into a second-place tie with Partizan, both at 4-3. Ulker dropped into a four-way tie for fourth place at 3-4, with Roma, Pau-Orthez and Union Olimpija. From high differance of 33 points, just after halftime, Ulker came back to within 9 points in the final minutes, but then ran out of time. Scoonie Penn led five Cibona scorers in double figures with 25 points. He added 7 rebounds, 6 steals and 5 assists. Jurica Golemac added 19 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists for the winners, Josip Sesar 15 points, Marijan Mance 13 and Andrija Zizic 11. For Ulker, Melvin Booker scored most of his team-high 23 points in the second half. Efthimios Rentzias added 22 points and Kerem Gonlum 15. The game was replayed because the original result was ruled invalid by the Euroleague discpilinary and appeals judges due to a scorekeeping error.
Cibona had an outstanding start to the game, as Golemac made a three-pointer and Sesar added two more plus a free throw for an immediate 10-0 lead. Ulker could not find the way to the basket, and the guests went scoreless for more than 5 minutes, while committing 4 turnovers. Meanwhile, Cibona was unstoppable in the offensive end, as a mid-range jumper by Penn and 5 consecutive points by Mance helped the hosts to a mammoth 17-0 opening run. Efthimios Rentzias, who had just come off the bench, scored the first Ulker point in the game, and from then on, Ulker managed to exchange baskets, as Rentzias score a couple and Brad Traina added one more to cut the local lead to 13, 20-7, with 2 minutes to go in the first quarter. But then Ulker was limited to just one more point, a free throw by Traina, until the end of the quarter, while Sesar's third three-pointer of game and a layup by Penn gave Cibona a 25-8 lead after 10 minutes.
Rentzias, the only Ulker player who could beat Cibona's defense, made the first basket of the second quarter, but 4 consecutive points by Golemac ignited a 10-0 local run. Josko Poljak dunked, Mance made a layup and Davor Kus added 2 foul shots to push Cibona's lead to an incredible 25 points, 35-10. Rentzias added 3 more baskets in the second quarter for Ullker, but little changed. Cibona went on a 11-4 final run, in which five different players scored, with a final layup by Andrej Stimac extending the lead to 48-20 at halftime. Ulker had 10 turnovers and missed all 11 of its three-point attempts until then, while Cibona was 6-for-11 from downtown.
It was do-or-die time for Ulker early in the third quarer, but Golemac and Penn scored 4 points to help Cibona reach its biggest lead, 33 points, at 58-25. Ulker carried on missing from beyond the arc until Booker finally hit a three-pointer, which he followed with 2 free throws and a layup, but still it was a 28-point game, 60-32, midway through the third quarter. Ulker improved its defense, and Gonlum scored his first basket of the game. Haluk Yildirim followed him with 4 points while Rentzias added a layup to cut Ulker's deficit to 20, 60-40. The guests carried on looking for their frontcourt players late in the third, as Rentzias and Gonlum combined for 6 more points. Booker added a layup to bring Ulker within 17, 65-48, before Andrija Zizic gave Cibona a 19-point lead, 67-48, after 30 minutes.
Ibrahim Kutluay, who went scoreless in the opening 30 minutes, scored 5 points early in the final quarter for Ulker. Then Gonlum added a layup to make it a 15-point game, 70-55. Penn fired back with a triple and a layup, but the guests did not give up, going instead on a 2-7 burst in which Gonlum had a dunk and 2 foul shots, and Traina a three-pointer, to bring Ulker within 13, 77-64, with more than 6 minutes to go. Just when the local fans started to wonder, Cibona sealed the game. Ulker failed to score during the next 3 minutes and Cibona added five points to extend its lead to 82-64, with 4 minutes to go. Gonlum made a layup and Booker drilled a pair of three-pointers, bringing Ulker within 12, 84-72. Even when the guests carried on reducing their deficit to 9 points, 89-80 in the final minute, the outcome was clear. Not even Ulker's 63 points in the second half could keep Cibona from this victory.
Wednesday, December 3, 2003