Cholet Basket stayed in the fight to reach the Eurocup Last 16 in regular season Group F by downing previously undefeated Crvena Zvezda 79-70 at home on Tuesday. Cholet improved to 2-2 while Zvezda now ties for first place with Benetton Gioco Digitale for first place at 3-1. Cholet faces a pivotal, do-or-die road game against Benetton next week. Zvezda will advance to the Last 16 if it beats Dynamo Moscow and Benetton downs Cholet. Sammy Mejia led the winners with 35 points on 8-of-13 two-pointers and 5-of-6 triples. Kevin Seraphin posted a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, Arvydas Eitutavicius had 13 points while Antywane Robinson pulled down 10 boards for Cholet. Elmedin Kikanovic led Zvezda with 22 points while Mike Taylor had 10 for the guests, that trailed 63-59 with 7 minutes left. Seraphin, Eitutavicius and Mejia fueled a 9-0 run that allowed Cholet to seal a well-deserved win down the stretch.
Seraphin got Cholet going with a layup and Mejia added free throws for a 4-1 lead. Kikanovic and Boris Bakic combined for 4 quick points but Seraphin scored again and Mejia added a layup to put Cholet back ahead, 8-5. Eitutavicius downed a three-pointer and even when Bakic answered from downtown, Mejia joined the shootout to make it a six-point game, 14-8. Kikanovic took over with a put-back dunk and soon added a layup to keep Zvezda as close as 16-12. Cholet kept running its offense through Seraphin, who scored twice in the paint but a three-pointer by Tadija Dragicevic brought the guests within 20-15 after 10 minutes. Mejia kept pacing Cholet with a layup early in the second quarter and Jamaal Tatum added a mid-range jumper for a 24-15 Cholet lead. Zvezda did not panic, however, as back-to-back baskets by Filip Videnov and Mike Taylor made the hosts call timeout at 24-19. Mickeal Gelabale sank a jumper but Taylor and Nemanja Bjelica combined for all points in a 2-9 run that tied the game at 28-28. Mejia followed a layup with a three-pointer and Randal Falker allowed Cholet to get a 35-30 edge. Kikanovic stayed on fire but Eitutavicius allowed the hosts to stay ahead, 39-35, at halftime.
Kikanovic followed a put-back layup with a dunk to tie it at 39-39 immediately after the break. Cholet found a go-to guy in Mejia, that had 5 points in a 7-0 run that he capped with a triple for a 46-39 lead. Dragicevic stepped with free throws and an unstoppable Kikanovic added another put-back basket to bring Zvezda back to life, 46-43. Antywane Robinson shined with a layup-plus-foul - his first points - and soon added a dunk to keep Cholet out of trouble at 51-43. Mejia scored again off a steal but Radivojevic and Vladimir Stimac kept Zvezda within 55-49. Seraphin scored down low and a jumper by Eitutavicius gave Cholet a 59-49 margin after 30 minutes. Seraphin sank free throws early in the fourth quarter but Videnov answered from downtown for a 61-52 Zvezda deficit. Videnov kept pacing the guests and a three-pointer by Bakic gave Zvezda some hope at 63-59 with 7 minutes left. Seraphin and Eitutavicius shined with back-to-back baskets to make the guests call timeout at 67-59. Mejia capped a 9-0 run with a triple that broke the game open, 72-59. Bjelica and Kikanovic tried to make Zvezda return to the game but it was too little, too late for the guests, as Cholet had cruised to an important win.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009