Caja Laboral held off a late Lottomatica Roma charge to record a 67-60 win on Wednesday night at Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria, Spain. Mirza Teletovic scored 17 points and All-Euroleague center Tiago Splitter had 15 points and 8 rebounds as Laboral improve to 4-2 in Group C and ensured at least a tie for second place. Laboral coul be tied for first if Union Olimpija beats Maccabi Electra on Thursday. Laboral travels to face Maccabi in Tel Aviv next week. Roma dropped its third straight to fall to 3-3 and hosts CSKA Moscow next. Laboral used separate 11-0 and 9-0 runs to build a 26-11 lead midway through the second quarter, but Roma stormed back with a 1-14 charge to stay within 33-28 at halftime. Splitter and Teketovic stepped up in the third quarter as Laboral pulled away and Fernando San Emeterio opened the fourth quarter with a triple for an 18-point lead. Ricky Minard would not let his team give in and carried Roma back to within single digits. And even though Roma could not complete the comeback, it did manage to protect the 12-point margin from its Week 1 win for potential head-to-head tiebreaker purposes. San Emeterio added 13 for the winners, who outrebounded Roma 34-25. Minard paced Roma with 15 points and Kennedy Winston added 12.
Both team needed to run the floor a few times before Andre Hutson scored the game’s first point more than two minutes into the game. Carl English stepped up and buried a long jumper for Laboral’s first points. Winston scored on the offensive glass, but the hosts went ahead when Splitter passed out of the post to Teletovic for a three-pointer. Sean Singletary stole the ball and finished a one-man fast break with a circus shot layup. Splitter then scored inside as the hosts took control at 9-4 and Roma head coach Nando Gentile called timeout. Laboral remained hot and English drilled a three-pointer to stretch the hosts’ run to 11 unanswered points before Winston attacked the basket for a tough score. With Hutson and Herve Toure already with 2 fouls each, Gentile sent in veteran captain Alessandro Tonolli earlier than usual and he showed why with a three-pointer from the corner. Splitter dropped a hook shot in, but Winston fed Andrea Crosariol for a power slam to end the first quarter at 17-11.
Splitter took a pass from San Emeterio for an alley-oop layup and Teletovic climbed over Tonolli for a layup as the Laboral lead reached double figures early in the second quarter. Vladimir Micov scored inside, then stole the ball and drew an unsportsmanlike foul from Ricky Minard. Micov made 1 free throw, but then scored a layup on the ensuing possession for a 9-0 start to the quarter. Ibby Jaaber ended a four-minute scoring drought for the guests with a layup. Free throws from Toure and Jaaber brought Roma back within 10. Roma’s zone press frustrated the home team’s guards and Laboral found more trouble when Splitter picked up his third foul going for a rebound. Hutson scored from the line to complete a 0-7 run that made it 26-18. English fought his way inside and drew a foul, but Luca Vitali bettered him with a triple. Minard weaved his way through the Laboral defense for a bucket and Vitali drew a charge from English, who joined Splitter on the bench with three fouls. After a timeout, Winston hit from outside to compete a 1-14 charge that brought Roma all the way back. San Emeterio made sure his team kept the lead with a pair of triples, but Minard answered back with a three at the buzzer to get to 33-28 at halftime.
Splitter fed a cutting English and then Singletary set up Teletovic for a three-pointer as Laboral restored a double-digit edge at the onset of the second half. Winston got Roma on the scoreboard, but Singletary pulled up for a three and then Teletovic sank a pair of free throws as Laboral assumed control of the game. Hutson scored and Crosariol threw down a dunk before Winston hit a turnaround jumper that gave Roma hope. Splitter banked in a shot and then used a low-post move to push the Laboral lead to 13. Teletovic banked a jumper, but Crosariol muscled his way to a basket at the other side. Splitter tacked on a pair of free throws at the end of the third quarter for a 53-38 Laboral lead.
San Emeterio’s third three-pointer of the game upped the Laboral lead to its peak,18 points. Hutson stepped outside for a jumper, but Singletary blew through the Roma defense for an easy score. Toure flashed his athleticism on a drive to the hoop only to see San Emeterio score on the offensive glass. Minard would not let his team go down without a fight and slashed for a basket, hit a three and then spotted Vitali for a triple to bring Roma within 60-50. San Emeterio ended Laboral’s mini-drought before Teletovic ended Roma’s hopes with a triple. Minard answered back as the visitors aimed to protect the 12-point victory they achieved in Week 1. Jaaber rifled in a three-pointer to bring the visitors within 65-56. Splitter was whistled for an offensive foul, but Jaaber missed from downtown and Singletary made a jumper to ensure the Laboral win. Minard’s free throws in the closing seconds made sure Roma held any potential head-to-head tiebreaker.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009