In a battle for the first place, Union Olimpija Ljubljana used a 19-4 start to the fourth quarter to pull away and defeat Ratiopharm Ulm 74-61 on Wednesday night in the Slovenian capital. Both teams already qualified for the Last 32, and now hold 7-2 record. But with this 13-point win, Olimpija overcame 83-80 loss against Ulm in Round 4, taking control atop of Group C, and will win the group with a victory at already-eliminated Paris Levallois next week. Olimpija took the lead for good early in the third quarter, before putting together a 19-4 spurt to start the fourth and grab insurmountable 23-point advantage. Jakov Vladovic paced the winners with 17 points on 4 of 5 three-pointers. Dragisa Drobnjak and Deividas Gailius added 11 apiece, while Alex Stepheson grabbed career-high 15 rebounds, including 8 offensive boards, along with 7 points. For Ulm, Philipp Schwethelm scored 11, while Daniel Theis and Adam Hess chipped in with 10 apiece.
Trent Plaisted from close range and Schwethelm from long range to get Ulm to 4-11, but Olimpija quickly rallied with 7 points from Cederic Jackson, and a triple from Sasu Salin, as the score was tied 18-18 after 10 minutes. Ulm kept a slim lead in the second, with basket-plus foul from Schwethelm and four points from Theis. After Vladovic sank a triple for hosts and 27-27, Per Guenther scored twice from downtown, giving Ulm 29-35. Salin cut it to 33-35 at the break, and Drobnjak put Olimpija up 37-35 at the start of the third. Back-to-back triples from Nebojsa Joksimovic made it 45-38. Matt Howard scored couple of buckets for Ulm, and Theis hit a jumper, but Vladovic made a triple, helping the hosts to 54-46 after three quarters. Vladovic opened the fourth with another triple, as Olimpija pulled away with a huge run. Vladovic and Gailius hit more triples, Stepheson dominated on the offensive glass, and the hosts extended the lead to 73-50 midway through the quarter. With game out of reach, Ulm replied and finished the game with a 1-11 run, capped by back-to-back three-pointers from Hess.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013