Benetton Tamoil took a step forwards to reach the elimination rounds in Group H by thrashing Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez 88-60 in Treviso, Italy on Tuesday. Benetton improved to 4-3 in Group H and ties with the Artland Dragons in the standings. Both teams will tie for the second or third place depending on the outcome of tomorrow's game between ASK Riga and BC Kyiv in the Latvian capital. Meanwhile, Pau-Orthez dropped to 1-6 and is all but mathematically out of the elimination rounds race. Nana Mensah-Monsu and Reece Gaines led the winners each with 14 points. Matteo Soragna added 13, Engin Atsur had 11 while Lionel Chalmers got 10 and 6 steals for Benetton. Antoine Mendy had 13 points for Pau. David Young added 11, Thierry Rupert got 10 while Ludovic Vaty grabbed 11 rebounds for the guests, whose only lead came at 4-5. Even with that, Young got the guests within 16-16 late in the third quarter. It didn't last long, however, as Mario Austin, Gaines and Atsut fueled a mamooth 23-3 run that broke the game open, 39-19. A free throw by Austin made it a 26-point game, 49-23, late in the third half. Vaty, Young and Mendy fueled a 1-13 run that gave the guests some hope, 50-36, midway through the third quarter. Gaines and Mensah-Bonsu restored at 63-44 Benetton margin after 30 minutes. Mensah-Bonsu had three wild dunks early in the fourth quarter to make Benetton seal a key win in style.
Both teams struggled to score in the early going, as a three-pointer by Antywane Robinson gave Pau its only lead of the night, 4-5. Soragna answered from downtown while Angelo Gigli added an alleyoop layup for a 9-7 Benetton lead. Max Stanic stepped up for Pau while Young followed an easy layup with a bomb from downtown for a 16-16 tie. It didn't last long, however, as a put-back basket by Austin ignited a 10-0 run highlighted by Atsur' buzzer-beating triple from the left wing, good for a 26-16 Benetton lead after 10 minutes. Pau struggled to score early in the second quarter, as Benetton limited its opponents to just 3 points in the next 5 minutes. Meanwhile, Gaines and Atsur fueled a 12-0 run that broke the game open, 39-19, after 16 minutes. Rupert tried to ignit the guests' comeback with a jump hook and a layup, but Austin answered in the other end to keep Benetton way ahead, 44-23. Giuliano Maresca hit a three-pointer and by the time Austin hit a free throw, Benetton had a 26-point lead, 49-23. Stanic and Mendy brought Pau within 49-28 at halftime. Pau improved its defense after the break, making it much more aggressive. Meanwhile, Young and Vaty stepped up with consecutive baskets to give the guests some hope, 49-32. Young capped a 1-13 run with consecutive basket, making the hosts call timeout at 50-36. Maresca ran the length of the court for a layup while Gaines added a running triple for a 55-36 Benetton lead. By the time that Mensah-Bonsu had a three-point play, Benetton had restored a 20-point lead, 58-48. A big dunk by Mendy and a final basket by Soragna fixed the score at 63-44 after 30 minutes. Mensah-Bonsu woke up the crowd with a back-to-back wild dunks, as both teams opted to provide some showtime once the outcome was clear. Mensah-Bonsu and Mendy traded power dunks but everything was said and done already, as Benetton registered an important win.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007