A year after their team made it all the way to the Final Eight of the Eurocup, the fans in Zadar had to settle for an early but fun going-away present, a 110-87 victory on Tuesday over visiting Siauliai as both teams were eliminated before the game was played. The points flew early and often, with Zadar in pretty much complete control of the outcome from early in the second quarter onward. That meant that Zadar finished with a 3-3 record in Group C, actually tied for second place with Hapoel Jerusalem, but already having lost their tiebreak in head-to-head competition by just 2 points. Siauliai ended in fourth place at 1-5 as the only team to beat first-place Aris. The parade of scorers Tuesday was led by Damir Rancic with 25 points. His lined up with the following pionts: Trent Plaisted 16, Rok Stipcevic and Vladimer Boisa 14 each, Tomislav Ruzic 12 and Micah Downs 11. For Siauliai, Arvydas Siksnius canned 20 points, Mindaugas Kuzminskas 19, Derrick Low 18 and Vytautas Sarakauskas 15.
The fun started on the visitors' side as Siksnius and Kuzminskas fired Siauliai up 5-12 to start. Stipcevic's 5 quick points tied it 12-12 and then Zadar was matching the guests shot for shot until Boisa broke a 23-23 tie with a pair of inside baskets and Rancic's triple meant a 30-26 lead after 10 minutes for the hosts. If anything, the pace picked up in the second quarter as Plaisted, Boisa and Rancic boosted Zadar in front 38-28. That was the signal that the hosts weren't about to let Siauliai along for the ride. What followed was a massive 28-8 run that would have looked worse for Siauliai had not Siksnius returned with a triple on the halftime buzzer. As it was, Zadar was leading 66-39 at the break.
Siauliai re-joined the scoring with a 6-16 run after halftime to get within 72-55. When Orelik and Kuzminskas boosted that to 74-61, Zadar reacted. Stipcevic buried a triple to start it and Ruzic another to end an 11-2 run to finish the third quarter with the hosts again in total command, 82-63. The only question left in the fourth quarter was how soon would the Zadar fans see 100 points. Five minutes later, to be exact, when Ruzic hit a layup to make it 101-78.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010