Fortitudo Bologna trashed BC FMP 88-61 on Tuesday as it established itself as contender for a Last 16 berth from Group G. Under new head coach Cesare Pancotto, the hosts found their offensive rhythm as they improved to 2-2 – with both wins coming against FMP. Bologna will face a crucial encounter after the winter break when it hosts Artland Dragons. FMP, which hurt itself by shooting 1 for 17 from downtown (5.8%), falls to 1-3 and must win all its remaining games and hope for Fortitudo to lose twice to reach the Last 16. FMP looked strong in the opening minutes, but one Fortitudo heated up, the hosts took over and led by 19 at one point before FMP got within 49-27 at halftime. The deficit shrunk to 11 in the third quarter, but the hot hand of Jamont Gordon helped Bologna pull away once more en route to the win. Gordon came off the ebnch to lead Fortitudo with 23 points, while Lazaros Papadopoulos clogged the paint with 17 and D.J. Strawberry added 16. Predrag Samardziski paced FMP with 15 points and 8 rebounds and Miroslav Raduljica added 10 in defeat.
FMP looked strong in the opening minutes starting things off with a three-point play by Mladen Jeremic and getting another basket-plus-foul from Filip Covic, prompted new Bologna coach Pancotto to take an early timeout at 2-7. Bologna focused its offense on Papadopoulos, who scored Bologna’s first 4, while the defense became more aggressive. Dragan Labovic hit a jumper off the inbounds pass, but drives from Strawberry and Gordon got the hosts within 1 and then Papadopoulos handed Bologna its first lead. Five consecutive points by Gordon plus a hook by Alessandro Cittadini pushed Bologna to 17-11. Samardziski visited the line twice, but Gordon kept doing some damage, scoring and drawing fouls to make it 24-16 after 10 minutes. The hosts got off to a much better start in the second quarter, with a Strawberry dunk off a Matteo Malaventura steal, and two early fouls drawn. Bologna kept dancing on the rhythm set by Strawberry, stealing and scoring 6 points in no time, good for a 32-16 advantage. A timeout taken by FMP coach Stepandic made no difference as Strawberry was running fast on the break fed once more by Gordon. Some turnovers from both sides led to a 38-21 score as Papadopoulos and Nikola Ilic chipped in 4 each. Two free throws from Marcelinho Huertas had Bologna ahead 42-21. The visitors lacked ideas and quickness on offense, as Raduljica seemed to be the only threat and Fortitudo took a 49-27 lead to the locker room.
FMP trimmed the big gap as the second half began, first with a steal that led to a three-point play by Raduljica. Stefan Zivanovic added another in transition as Pancotto gathered his troops for a chat at 49-32. Then, Strawberry and Labovic exchanged drives. FMP got within 16 on a Nemanja Protic floater and 14 on a Covic top-of-the-key triple, while Bologna was misfiring on offense. The visitors used free throws by Samardziski and a three by Ilic to get within 56-45. Gordon stepped up with a tough triple and a spectacular basket inside to reestablish a big lead for Bologna, 63-47. Papadopoulos found his rhythm too. Ilic did just enough to tap it in at the buzzer and make it 67-51 entering the last quarter. Huertas and Stefano Mancinelli, with a three, combined to land an early knockout punch at 72-51. Mancinelli invented a magic pass to Cittadini inside as the guests’ frustration was more and more obvious with the fouls committed. Then, Gordon came out of nowhere to fly for an unbelievable dunk off a Strawberry dish. The fans enjoyed the open court moves of the closing minutes as the outcome was clear long before the final buzzer.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008