Montepaschi Siena stormed into the ULEB Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday with an 80-77 win over visiting PAOK Thessaloniki. The victory, combined with its 17-point win on the road in the first game, saw Montepaschi sweep the series. Montepaschi advances to play Unics Kazan in the quarterfinals, with the first game set for Russia on Feburary 27 and the return in Italy on March 6. Lonny Baxter was the main contributor for the winners with 17 points with 6 steals, while Rimas Kaukenas bagged 13 with a perfect 7-of-7 from the foul line. Joseph Foorte chipped in 12 and Romain Sato and Terrell McIntyre drained 11 apiece. Dimitrios Charitopoulos was the scoring leader for PAOK with 15 points and 4 assists, Vlado Scepanovic drilled 14, Djuro Ostojic drained 11 with 9 rebounds and Ioannis Kalampokis bagged 10. PAOK fought hard the whole night, climbing back from a double-digit deficit midway through the third quarter to tie the game, but was never close to erasing the huge deficit from the first leg.
Drago Pasalic opened the scoring for the visitors assisted by J.R. Bremer, but then Sato posted 5 straight points to put his side in front 5-3. Vladimer Boisa extended the cushion to 8-3 from downtown. Kalampokis came off a pick hit a three, bringing PAOK within 9-8. Pasalic corrected Scepanovic's miss with a slam, but Sato's layup kept Montepaschi ahead 13-10. Kaukenas drove to the rim to make it 16-10, but a perfect move underneath by Ostojic fueled PAOK , but the last words were for Ben Eze, who fixed the scoreboard at 18-14 at the end of the first quarter. Charitopoulos went for a a baseline layup early in the second quarter, but Baxter pushed Montepaschi to 23-17 halfway through the second quarter. Lazaros Agadakos posted a bomb only for Kaukenas to answer with a three-point play. The lefty Charitopoulos cut the margin to 26-22 from mid-range, but the scoring slowed again until Agadakos made a layup. Then Baxter slammed an alley-oop from Joseph Forte to stay in front on 30-24. Bremer and Kalambokis amassed 4 points in few seconds, and Forte missed the a buzzer-beater at the other end, but Montepaschi remained in front 32-30 at halftime.
Jason Parker tied the score at the start of the second half and McIntyre put Montepaschi in front again before Scepanovic and Boisa exchanged easy layups. But Parker hit from mid-range to tie it once more. Sato, Forte and Eze combined for 6-0 run for Montepaschi to go ahead 44-38. Boisa boosted his side with a shot from downtown and Forte converted a three-point play to give the hosts their first double-digit advantage at 50-39 midway through the third quarter. Ostojic kept his side in the picture by scoring in the paint and then Scepanovic nailed one from downtown to bring PAOK within 50-44. The visitors didn't give up, as Bremer capped a 8-2 spurt to the score again at 52-52 with two-and-a-half minutes left in the quarter. Baxter intercepted the ball and ran the court for a layup to make it 56-52. Kalampokis made a short jumper to fix the score at 58-56 for Montepaschi at the end of the third quarter. McIntyre from downtown gave another slim cushion to Siena, but PAOK followed up inside through Ostojic. Montepaschi then did the same with Baxter, scoring in the paint for a 69-64 margin. McIntyre found room in the paint to make it 71-64, but then Kalampokis with a triple from the corner sounded the charge for PAOK. Entering in the last two minutes of the match, Forte scored a short jumper to maintain a 76-71 advantage. Scepanovic beat the 24-second clock from mid-range and Ostojic posted two attempts from the foul line to close to 76-75 with 50 seconds left. Kaukenas went to the rim and scored and after Parker missed a layup, the Lithuanian guard scored both his free throw to seal the win and send Siena one more step on the Road to Charleroi.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007