Cibona registered its first road win of the season by downing Efes Pilsen 71-77 in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday, thus altering the landscape in Group B. Cibona improved to 4-3 and will share third place with either Maccabi Tel Aviv or Winterthur FCB after they meet on Thursday. Meanwhile, Efes dropped to 5-2, with both defeats at home, and now must share the top spot it held until now with Lietuvos Rytas. Scoonie Penn led the winners with 27 points while hitting 11 of 11 free throws and making 5 steals. Bennett Davison had 17 points for Cibona, while Davor Kus added 12 off the bench and Davor Marcelic 10, including a key three-pointer in the final minute. Kaya Peker led Efes with 19 points. Antonio Granger added 17 and Nikola Prkacin 13 for the hosts, who led 21-17 after 10 minutes. Davison and Penn shined in the second quarter to give Cibona a 33-45 halftime lead Efes came within 53-58 after 30 minutes and even managed to tie, 68-68, with 2 minutes to go, but that's when Marcelic made a critical three for Cibona, while Kus and Penn hit 6 of 6 free throws to seal the upset.
Both teams struggled to score early until Luksa Andric got a layup for Cibona, but soon Antonio Granger followed Peker's free throws with a fallaway jumper for a 4-2 Efes lead. Bennett Davison tied the game with a put-back basket and Penn nailed a three-point shot from the right wing to put Cibona out front, 4-7. Niksa Prkacin scored in the paint for Efes, but Penn and Davison answered with consecutive five-meter jumpers for a 7-11 Cibona lead. Granger came to the rescue with 5 quick points to bring Efes within 12-13 as the hosts adjusted their defense. Still, Davor Kus slashed and Davison hit a four-meter jumper for a 14-17 Cibona edge. Marko Popovic fed Peker for a two-handed dunk and made free throws off a technical foul on Damir Markota, igniting a 8-0 Efes run that Peker capped with another close basket to give Efes a 21-17 lead after 10 minutes.
Cibona got back on track early in the second quarter, as Markota scored inside and Bennett added a turnaround jumper to tie 21-21. Granger answered from downtown for Efes, but Cibona was on fire. Bennett added another layup and Penn a three-point play while Davor Marcelic capped a 0-7 run with a driving layup, forcing an Efes timeout at 24-28. Henry Domercant and Kerem Gonlum combined for 4 quick points, but Cibona did not panic. Markota nailed a triple, while Penn followed a layup with free throws to give Cibona its biggest lead so far, 30-37. The guests allowed Efes just 2 points in more than 5 minutes, while Markota scored in the paint and Kus added back-to-back driving layups to cap a 3-15 run and put Cibona fully in charge, 31-43. Finally, Marino Bazdaric added an acrobatic layup to keep a 33-45 Cibona margin at halftime.
Efes tried to start the second half better as Peker's jump shot and Granger's put-back cut the difference to 37-45. Domercant fired up the crowd with a two-handed put-back dunk, forcing a Cibona timeout. The guests did not score for almost 4 minutes, while Peker folllowed free throws with a layup to cap a 10-0 run that made it a two-point game, 43-45. Davison woke Cibona up with a wild dunk and additional free throw, but Domercant and Marko Popovic made consecutive layups to get Efes even closer, 47-48. Kus rescued Cibona then with free throws and a driving basket, but Popovic and Granger buried consecutive triples as Efes held within 53-54. Penn again became Cibona's go-to guy now, with 4 unanswered points to keep the guests in control, 53-58, after 30 minutes.
To start the final quarter, Gonlum made a put-back basket for Efes, but Davison matched with a high-flying layup, while Penn fired in a big triple for an eight-point lead, 55-63, with under 7 minutes to go. Efes called timeout, but after it an unstoppable Penn scored off a steal while Marcelic fired in a triple for a 57-68 Cibona margin. Peker tried to change things with a three-point play while Prkacin made a layup to bring Efes within 62-68. The guests called a quick timeout, but Prkacin was on fire. He followed a jump hook with free throws to get Efes back into the game, 66-68, with 2 minutes remaining. Cibona could not get an open shot now, so Peker made his short one to tie, 68-68. Penn made 2 free throws while Prkacin missed 1 of his for Efes, then Marcelic returned to nail a critical three for a 69-73 Cibona lead with 45 seconds remaining. Prkacin missed around the basket, while Kus and Penn made free throws to seal the outcome, a big upset for Cibona.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Gokhan Ture, Istanbul