BG Goettingen and Benetton Bwin played to a 40-minute draw, 66-66, in an exciting clash on Wednesday in the opening game of their two-game total-points Quarterfinals. The result sets up a winner-takes all second game in Treviso next week, meaning the two teams will play a do-or-die game on the floor that will host the Eurocup Finals for a ticket to the big show. The Violets controlled the game early, led by 14 in the second quarter and 41-32 at halftime. But Alessandro Gentile and Stefan Markovic fueled a 0-11 start to the second half that carried Benetton back. Goettingen rode Mike Scott to remain in the game and came into the final minutes close. Clutch baskets by a previously scoreless Louis Dale tied the game and a Jason Boone block of Gentile in the final seconds kept it that way. Scott finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds to lead the winners. Dwayne Anderson added 13 and Trent Meacham scored 11 for the home team. Gentile finished with a career-high 22 points for Benetton, while Greg Brunner posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Benetton.
The Violets got the perfect start as Meacham spotted John Little for a triple to open the scoring and then after Robert Kulawick missed from downtown, Boone cleaned the glass. Benetton soon got going as Donatas Motiejunas and Devin Smith scored before Gentile gave the visitors their first lead, 5-6. Kulawick responded with a triple, but Motiejunas kept Benetton close. Kulawick nailed another three only to see Gentile and Motiejunas get to the line to make it 15-13. Anderson came in and made an impact, first with 2 free throws and then a slam, which followed a Hrvoje Peric layup for the visitors. Meacham pushed the Goettingen lead to 21-15 after 10 minutes.
Despite a Peric basket to open the second quarter, the Violets continued to control the momentum. Kyle Bailey nailed a three-pointer and then drove for a layup to lift the lead to 9. Smith and Bailey traded scores before Anderson sank a triple to put the hosts ahead by double figures, 31-20. Meacham got involved with a three and Scott scored his first points to cap a 15-5 charge that made it 36-22. Greg Brunner muscled for a score on the offensive glass and Massimo Bulleri nailed a triple to bring Benetton back to life. Michael Meeks hit back from downtown, however Bulleri got to the line for 2 more and Gentile scored a basket-plus-foul. Meacham lifted Goettingen to 41-32 just before halftime.
Gentile took over at the start of the second half with the aid of Markovic as the latter dished twice to the former for triples to silence the Goettingen crowd. Markovic added a steal and layup before Motiejunas scored from the line to put Benetton ahead. Markovic capped a 0-11 run to start the half. Scott scored on the offensive glass to end a five-minute Goettingen drought and tie the score at 43-43, but Gentile and Smith kept Benetton rolling. Scott came through again to keep it close before sinking a clutch triple to put the hosts up 50-49. Peric gave Benetton a slim 50-51 advantage with a layup to end the third quarter.
Brian Skinner and Gentile added to the Benetton lead with free throws in the first minutes of the fourth quarter. Anderson ended a quiet three-and-a-half minutes with a basket for Goettingen and later his 2 free throws made it a 1-point game. Brunner kept Benetton ahead when he tipped in a Smith miss and Motiejunas managed to make it 54-60 from the line. Scott saved the Violets with baskets on back-to-back possessions. Meacham narrowed the gap to 60-61, but Gentile kept Benetton ahead with more free throws. Dale answered with his first basket of the game and Anderson got to the line and put the hosts ahead 64-63 with a minute left. Gentile continued a superb evening with a big three-pointer, which prompted a Goettingen timeout. After setting up a play, Dale got to the line and tied the score. Benetton used a timeout to prepare for a final possession and went to Gentile, but Boone blocked the shot to force a tie game and bring the series down to a one-game winner-take-all duel next week in Treviso.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011