The first game of the week in Group D rattled the standings as Spirou Charleroi rode some stellar shooting to a 66-86 blowout road win over Zadar. Both teams now 3-2 and tied for second place behind Varese of Italy. The question of who would win this game was practically answered in the first quarter, when Charleroi fired in 6 three-pointers for a 13-point lead that was never threatened the rest of the way, particularly not after an 0-9 run to start the second half. Forward Ron Ellis, author of three shots from downtown in the first quarter, was the hero for Charleroi with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Marcus Faison had 22 points, leading that third-quarter rush. Andre Riddick added 14 and Jacque Stas 11 for the winners. Zadar suffered bad field goal shooting (21 for 55 from the field), and a big rebounding disadvantage (18-25), and saw double digits scoring by only two players: Marko Popovic with 17 points and Marko Samanic with 10.
After a scoreless first minute, a two-way scoring binge over 90 seconds saw the teams tied 9-9. Charleroi made 3 consecutive three-pointers in that span, the first by Faison then 2 in a row by Stas. In between, Samanic made 2 inside shots, Jasmin Perkovic another and Popovic a triple to tie. But as quickly as the scoring spasmed, it stopped. A pair of Ron Ellis layups put the visitors ahead 9-13 after 6 minutes, when Samanic got another basket to end a four-minute drought for Zadar. Ellis then landed a three-pointer to make it 11-16. After layup by Faison, Andre Riddick stole and passed to Ellis for another three for a 13-21 advantage. But the guests were not done. After Stas and Popovic exchanged free throws, Ellis popped his third three-pointer and Charleroi's fifth of the quarter as the guests took an impressive 15-28 lead after 10 minutes. Charleroi began the second quarter with a 0-4 mini-run to 15-32. Zadar tried to respond with 7-0 run signed by Popovic that pulled the hosts within 22-32. But then Ellis started up again, sinking his his fourth triple as the visitors made it to halftime with a 29-43 advantage.
The second half was the same story. With a magnificent defense Charleroi forced Zadar to make mistakes, that turned into easy points for the visitors, who used an 0-9 openening run to lead by 21 points, 31-52, after 22 minutes. Zadar tried to pull back, but Charleoi had an excellent night, one player in particular -Ellis. On the other side, Zadar didn't have any players making a difference on the scoreboard, but plenty helping to committ 17 turnovers. Charleroi kept the lead at the end of the third quarter, 43-65, and managed it till the end with great authority despite playing far from home. Last quarter was nothing but a long agony for Croatian hosts and their fans in Sports hall Jazine until the merciful ending.
Tuesday, November 12, 2002