Even though the game could change nothing in Group A, two Top 16-bound teams fought for 45 minutes before Prokom prevailed 83-78 after overtime against visiting Cibona at home in Sopot, Poland on Wednesday. Mark Miller scored 7 of his 13 points in overtime and added some key defensive plays to help save Prokom from blowing what had been a 19-point lead in the game. The victory helped even Prokom's record at 7-7 and tie it with Real Madrid for fourth place, although it remained fifth in the final standings due to tiebreakers. Cibona dropped to 8-6 but stayed in third place. Goran Jagodnik led Prokom with 20 and 8 rebounds, Adam Wojcik added 13 and Istvan Nemeth came off the bench for 11. Gerald Fitch scored 20 points ofthe bench to lead Cibona, which played without leading scorer Marko Popovic and key forward Andrej Stimac. Marton Bader added 15 and Vedran Morovic 10 for the visitors.
Prokom controlled the game from the begining thanks to very good defense. Cibona tried to newcomer Jurica Zuza inside, but it didn't work out as the guests waited 6 possesions before making a shot. Cibona's first timeout, after 5 minutes, came when it was trailing 13-3. Prokom promptly extended its lead to 17-3, mainly thanks to a lot steals and easy points after fastbreaks. Jagodnik was unstoppable and finished the first quarter with 10 points as Prokom led 22-7.
In the second quarter, the hosts controlled the game with back-up players. They even extended the gap to 35-16 in the 18th minute following free throws by Andrija Ciric.. Also, Nemeth came off the bench with five points. Cibona counted mainly on Fitch, who scored 10 of the visitors' 18 points in the quarter and made some good plays in defense. Cibona used zone and improved its transition game, but it was only enough to close the gap to 40- 25 as the half ended with spectacular plays by both teams, a Ciric layup assisted by Tomas Pacesas and a monster dunk by Rozic.
Cibona continued its zone into the second half, which forced many Prokom's mistakes. On the other end of the court Damir Omerchodzic and Bader scored from inside, while Josip Sesar's shot from downtown cut the gap to 42-34. Prokom responded with 6 consecutive points for a new double-digit advantage. When Nemeth scored his second three-pointer with 4 seconds remaining in the quarter, Prokom looked in charge until Morovic landed an unbelievable halfcourt buzzer-beater for a 52-42 score after 30 minutes.
When Fitch opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, Pacesas responded with his own, but then the guests scored 9 consecutive points. Suddenly, it was 55- 54 with 7 minutes left. Now, there were no easy points. Finally, behind Miller's spectacular steals, Prokom slowly built a 63-57 lead. But it wasn't the end. Cibona made a 0-6 run and with 52 seconds to got tied 63-63, the first tie of the game. After Miller made 1 of 2 free throws, Bader had a dunk with 15 seconds left for Cibona's first lead, 64-65. Adam Wojcik was foul and made 2 attempts for Prokom, but Vladimer Krstic was could only make 1 of his 2 for Cibona, and Ciric missed a triple on the buzzer, sending the game into overtime at 66-66. In OT , it was all Miller. He scored 7 of Prokom's first 9 points and when Jagodnik added a jumper, the hosts led 77-70 lead with 90 seconds remaining, and Prokom guarded it with good foul shooting until the final buzzer to get its seventh victory.
Thursday, February 10, 2005