Cibona took a solid step toward bettering its Top 16 options when it defeated Prokom Trefl Sopot at home by 71-61 in Group C on Wednesday. The game was really close throughout the first 3 quarters as the scoreboard showed a 51-51 after 30 minutes. However, Davor Kus stepped up with valuable points for the winners in the last period, helping forge a solid lead that could not be overcome by Prokom. The win lifts Cibona to a 5-4 record in Group C good for fourth place, while Prokom drops to 2-7 and will have to step on the gas to be in the Top 16 for the second straight season. Kus led Cibona with his 14 points while making 3 of 4 triples. Bennett Davison added 12 and 10 rebounds, Scoonie Penn and Mate Skelin 11 points apiece for the winners. For Prokom, only Istvan Nemeth scored in double digits with his 15 points. David Andersen nailed 9 points before fouling out at a moment in which he was directing Prokom's reaction at the start of the final quarter.
A free throw by Adam Wojcik inaugurated the score and later a good jumper for a 2-3 score after Luksa Andric's basket for Cibona. Damir Rancic tied the game with a bomb from downtown, 5-5, as Cibona tightened its defense allowing for a steal and a basket by Andric that lifted the count to 7-5. Istvan Nemeth however, made it easy for Prokom with his triple as the scoring rhythm of the teams increased slightly to a 9-10 when Bennett Davison nailed a jumper. Both teams combined for an overall 2 of 11 triples and that allowed many rebounds for each side at the same time as Jeff Nordgaard posted two free throws for Prokom and a 10-12 score. Good defense by Cibona forced an 8-second violation of Christian Dalmau and the play rounded out with Damir Markota's three to tie the game again, 14-14. The last points of the period arrived in the form of 4 free throws, two for Nordgaard and two for Marin Rozic for 16-16.
Scoonie Penn and Nemeth traded triples to start the second quarter but Ali Bouziane's unsportsmanlike foul was not used properly by Cibona who saw how Prokom quickly pulled within 22-21 after another Nemeth basket. Cibona's defense pressed on its own side of the court and Prokom committed a violation on the shot clock, as Mate Skelin followed it with a basket plus free throw for 27-21. Tomas Pacesas gave new life to Prokom with two triples in a 0-12 run that put the guests ahead once more, 29-33. Skelin finally replied for Cibona with a three-point play, and Davor Kus and Markota kept Cibona going to pull within 36-37 after three quarters.
Jagodnik appeared for Prokom at the start of the second half but Penn replied with an acrobatic spin in the air to maintain the pace. Davison slammed to tie the game again but Davor Marcelic and right after that Kus posted triples to launch the hosts to a 46-40 lead. Jgodnik stopped the bleeding with a triple of his own and Prokom seemed to find its place in defense again to start forcing Cibona turnovers. However, in three straight plays that included a Rancic triple, Cibona managed to open a 7-point gap again, 51-44. The trend of the game continued as it was Prokom's turn now to forge a scoring run, most of it thanks to David Andersen, as the score tightened to 51-51 one more time to close the third period.
The last period started with a slow-scoring pace as after 4 minutes, Cibona was leading by 3 after a new Kus triple, 56-53. In fact, Kus was the main protagonist of a new Cibona burst as he posted 5 more points with a new triple that allowed the hosts to pull to 62-54 forcing Prokom's new timeout. Dalmau and Nemeth combined after that to push Prokom to a 66-59 Cibona edge, but Davison rebounded a missed triple by Marcelic for 68-59 and 90 seconds to go. Dalmau went for a fast Prokom basket but Penn replied with free throws. Prokom tried it from downtown but missed all attempts nad Cibona just had to let the seconds tick away to take a new home win.
Wednesday, January 4, 2006