In an all-Italian matchup to decide a share of second place in Group B, Montepaschi routed visiting Scavolini Pesaro 93–70 on Thursday in a strong finish to the first leg of the Euroleague Regular Season. Montepaschi raised its record to 4-3, joining Barcelona in second place, while Scavolini dropped into the next group, at 3-4 along with AEK, Union Olimpija and Zalgiris. Montepaschi played without its leading scorer, Bootsy Thornton, but had plenty of firepower to do the job. Vrbica Stefanov led the way with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Michalis Kakiouzis followed with 17 and 8 rebounds. Giacomo Galanda added 13 points, Mindaugas Zukauskas 12 and Carlton Myers 11 for the winners. For Scavolini, Hanno Mottola drilled 21 points, Robert Archibald 15, Charles Smith 11 and Silvio Gigena 10. .
Kakiouzis and Stefanov opened the game with layups while Galanda added his first triple for a 7-0 Montepaschi liftoff in 3 minutes. Scavolini got going with free throws by Archibald, but Montepaschi was already hot. Stefanov's three-pointer was followed by fastbreak layup from Kakiouzis after a diving save by Ben Eze. By the time Galanda fired again from the arc, the lead was 19-6. Marko Milic and Mottola, with a triple, woke up Scavolini, which then saw Smith score his first basket, from downtown. But Zukauskas came off the bench with 5 straight points and Davide Lamma ended the quarter from the three-point arc with Montepaschi ahead comfortably, 29-16.
A sweet touch pass from David Vanterpool to Zukauskas started the second quarter. Mottola's 6 points in a row seemed to boost Scavolini, until Zukauskas and Stefanov added a couple of frontal three-pointers for a 38-22 score. Gigena came on to spark the visitors now, going coast-to-coast for a layup. Efthimios Rentzias shoked the rims with a two-handed dunk for Montepasch before Smith added a triple and Archibald well worked in the paint for Scavolini, ending a 7-13 run that left a 46-35 difference at the half.
Montepaschi brought Myers to the task after the break, and he immediately finished a fastbreak and assisted on Galanda's third triple, good for a 51-35 advantage. Archibald remained very effective under the boards, putting back an offensive rebound for Scavolini, but the visitors suffered many turnovers which Montepaschi and Myers used to launch another 6-0 run for a 59-39 lead. Myers would add another 3 points before Milic danced through Montepaschi's defense for an off-balance layup. But the scoreboard difference remained heavily in Montepaschi's favor as Eze climbed to dunk and finish the third quarter with his team up 70-46.
Archibald continued his very positive performance with a hook and Smith showed his talent to the Siena fans with a long, fadeaway jumper, but that's all the final quarter added up to, some nice plays. Scavolini wasn't coming back once Kakiouzis drilled 7 points, as Montepaschi still ruled, 77-58 with 6 minutes to play. Mottola showed all his one-on-one moves to try to keep the final margin to a minimum, but when Montepaschi's Luigi Datome made a last tap-in, the hosts had won and won big, 93-70.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Stefano Sensi, Siena