In spectacular fashion on the road, Scavolini Pesaro became the second team to reach the quarterfinals playoff from Group E when it downed Winterthur FCB 87-101 in Barcelona, Spain on Thursday. By making 17 three-point shots - one short of the Euroleague record - Scavolini took control of the do-or-die meeting and never looked back. Scavolini improved to 3-2 in the standings and has already qualified to the next round, as it would win any potential tie-breaker with Barcelona, third at 2-3, due to winning both their matchups in Group E. In fact, Scavolini could actually finish first if it beats CSKA by 21 points or more in Pesaro next week. Scoonie Penn led the winners with a season-high 25 points on 7 of 9 three-pointers. He had made 3 of 19 threes in the Top 16 before this game. Charles Smith added 24 points and Matteo Malaventura 17, an Euroleague career-high. Roger Grimau led Barcelona with 21 points on 5 of 6 three-pointers. Juan Carlos Navarro added 19 and Dejan Bodiroga 17 for the hosts. Scavolini broke the game open in the first half, when 11 of its 19 shots from the arc fell and set the stage for double-digit leads throughout the second half.
Winterthur FCB has an aggressive start, as Scavolini already had 3 fouls in the first minute. Free throws by Bodiroga opened the score, but Milic answered with a power layup while Penn nailed a triple for a 2-5 Scavolini edge. The guests tried alternative defenses in the opening minutes, trying to confuse Barcelona. Meanwhile, Penn took over with his second three and added a running layup which gave Scavolini a 2-10 margin. Barcelona called timeout but carried on struggling to score, while Tomas Ress capped a 0-11 run with a free throw. Scavolini entered the foul bonus midway through the first, while Navarro come off the bench to nail a corner three-pointer which brought Barcelona within 7-13. Scavolini did not panic, however, as Archibald made free throws and Mottola beat the shot clock with a three for a 9-18 lead. A put-back basket by Rodrigo De La Fuente and a stop-and-pop basket by Bodiroga got the hosts back in track, but Mottola nailed a seven-meter three, Smith added a tough jumper and Penn found an open three which made Scavolini keep a solid margin, 19-26, after 10 minutes.
Navarro tried to change things with a quick three, but Penn immediately answered with his fourth triple. Barcelona played an up-tempo game, as Grimau slashed for a layup and Zizic added a second-chance basket to bring the hosts within 26-30. Matteo Malaventura stepped up with another three-pointer, and even when Grimau matched in the other end, once again Malaventura drilled one from downtown to make it a seven-point game, 29-36. Scavolini entered the foul bonus midway through this period, but its alternative defenses allowed the guests to dominate the game. Meanwhile, Smith finally found its rhythm, mailing consecutive three-pointers to make Scavolini reach its first double-digit lead, 33-43. The guests had enough patience in offense, with outstanding shot selection. Free throws by Bodiroga brought Barcelona within 35-43, but Smith fired in an incredible three in front of two defenders, enough for Scavolini to get a 38-46 margin at halftime. Scavolini made as many as 11 triples in the opening half.
Smith and Fucka exchanged baskets in the opening minute of the third, but Penn buried another one from beyond the arc to give Scavolini a 40-51 margin. Ilievski answered from downtown, but a red hot Penn nailed his sixth three-pointer, while Ress turned a tough layup into a basket-plus-foul, enough to extend the guests' margin to 45-57. Winterthur FCB now had less troubles in offense, as Navarro found a put-back basket, but the hosts struggled in defense. Milic fed Archibald for a two-handed dunk and Ress added a floating jumper, forcing Barcelona to call timeout at 48-61. Davis stepped up with 4 of 4 free throws, but Malaventura beat the shot clock with a six-meter jumper and added an additional free throw for a 14-point Scavolini margin, 52-66. Barcelona could not find the way to the basket, while Mottola nailed another three and Malaventura added another long jumper for a game-high lead, 54-71. Navarro had 4 late points to bring the hosts within 60-73 after 30 minutes.
Barcelona needed a quick comeback to keep its chances alive, but Smith nailed a corner three to silence the crowd in the opening minute of the fourth, and Penn nailed his seventh three from the top of the key to seal the outcome, 61-79. Grimau tried to change things with a triple, but a red hot Smith buried yet another shot from downtown to keep Scavolini way ahead. The guests carried on playing with long possessions, allowing the hosts to reduce its deficit. Grimau fired in his third triple and Bodiroga added a fast break layup for a 69-82 score. Nothing changed until the final buzzer, as Scavolini kept a double-digit lead along the way, as fans back in Pesaro had already started to celebrate a historical win which made their team reach the Euroleague quarterfinals!
Thursday, March 24, 2005
J.A. Casanova, Barcelona