The first Madrid derby in Group A fell completely in favor of Real Madrid, who blasted archrival Adecco Estudiantes 91-66 on Thursday before a 12,200 fans at Vistalegre Palace, the arena that both teams call home this season. Madrid lifted its record to 4-2, good for third place in the group table. Estudiantes fell to 2-4 and sixth place. Madrid played a commanding game on both ends, forcing turnovers from Estudiantes with good defense and shooting with exceptional accuracy on offense. Madrid made 14 out of 30 three-pointers, with three players sharing 13 of those. Louis Bullock was, one more time, the best man for Real Madrid nailing 25 points and 6 of 9 triples in 27 minutes. Alberto Herreros and Mous Sonko added 14 points apiece, including 4 and 3 three-pointers, respectively. Pat Burke and Mickael Gelabale rounded out the Madrid scoring with 10 points each. For Estudiantes, Iker Iturbe led the way with 17 points, 10 of them in the first quarter, and Andres Miso added 11.
Herreros opened the scoring with 2 free throws and soon Burke added his first jumper for a 4-0 Madrid lead. Iturbe soon scored also for Estudiantes and from there he stepped up with 10 almost-consecutive points,, including 2 straight triples. With help from Sergio Rodriguez, that earned the guests a quick 7-12 lead. When Iturbe went to the bench, Carlos Jimenez added a triple for Estudiantes to make it 9-15, but then Madrid inflicted an 11-0 run, including a triple by Sonko. Madrid focused on a tight defense and Estudiantes couldn't aviod collecting turnovers, 5 in the first quarter. With all the gifts, Madrid pulled away 24-16 after 10 minutes with 8 points already by Burke.
Iturbe returned to the court and posted a triple to start the second quarter, but a four-point play by Sonko with a triple plus free throw for 30-21 hinted a trace of what was about to happen. Madrid entered a phase of maximum effiiciency, getting the best from every situation. Antonis Fotsis slammed after offensive rebound for the first double-digit lead of the night, 33-23. More triples fell from Bullock and Herreros for a 45-26 gap that had Madrid fans dancing in the aisles. Estudiantes called a timeout, but Bullock and Herreros replied to that with another pair of triples that brought the house down. Every Estudiantes offensive play ended in turnover and Madrid took advantage of every single one. Meanwhile, Madrid committed only a single turnover in 17 minutes and a layup by Mickael Gelabale capped a monster 25-5 run for a 56-28 lead. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, mercifully for the Estudiantes fans, the difference was 59-33.
Madrid's 2 turnovers in the first minute of the third quarter matched its total for the entire first half. Iturbe restarted the scoring with a three-pointer for 59-36, but it was only a hint. The hosts relied on their defense and superiority in the paint, and even when Nacho Azofra's triple for Estudiantes made it 63-39, Madrid didn't doubt. Herreros nailed another shot from downtown and at the same time the hosts dominated the rebounds clearly, 27-17. Bullock stepped up with 2 straight shots from the arc to boost the lead to 30 points, 72-42, in minute 28. It was quite clear that little could change the outcome, but Estudiantes didn't surrender and Miso scored the jumper to put a 72-44 after 30 minutes.
There was no history to the last period, even though Estudiantes started strong with three-pointers by Miso and Rodriguez for 75-52. But that was all that was different. Bullock stepped up to the arc for his sixth bomb of night, and soon Madrid's lead was threateneing to reach 30 points again, 82-53. Andrae Patterson and Ruben Garces tried again from the paint for Estudiantes, but Sonko grabbed another triple from his bag of tricks despite good defense, and on the following play dished a perfect alley-oop to Gelabale who dunked for the delirium of Madrid crowd. Estudiantes could only wait for the clock to tick away until the final buzzer and hope for a better chance in their next meeting. This derby belonged completely to Real Madrid.
Thursday, December 9, 2004