Gran Canaria added another road win, this time over Panionios Ons Telecoms 74-79 in Hellinikon Complex, to maintain first place in Group G while the hosts also saw their ticket to the elimination rounds punched despite losing. Although alone in first place at 7-2, Gran Canaria still needs to beat second-place Asvel Basket in the regular season finale next week to win the group. Panionios advances at 5-4 because its third-place standing can't be threatened by the fourth-place team it has beaten twice, Asco Slask Wroclaw. A crucial 8-0 visitors’ run down the stretch based on their excellent inside game proved the deciding factor as Gran Canaria managed to build a 62-69 difference despite having been behind by 62-61. Niklas Caner-Medley scored 17 points for the winners, Sitaphe Savane added 16 from the paint, while Jim Moran and Carl English had 14 and 11 points, respectively. Giannis Georgalis and Brad Newley were hot from the perimeter for Panionios netting 22 points on 3 three-pointers the first, and 21 on 5 triples the latter.
Gran Canaria started the game in confidence and with baskets coming from Jim Moran and Carl English took the lead at 2-7. Soon, the hosts reacted and with a three-pointer by Dusan Sakota, Panionios sailed ahead 10-9. However, it was obvious that the guests remained in control of the game tempo; Niklas Caner-Medley and a triple by Roberto Guerra closed the first quarter with Gran Canaria 17-25 ahead. The difference reached double digits, 17-27, but it was time for Panionios to answer back with a good 10-point-unanswered streak based on Haris Mujezinovic’ five points to regain the lead at 33-31. The visitors saved the last word before halftime, though, as Marcus Norris led Gran Canaria to a 35-41 safety cushion after 20 minutes. Freeman dunked and broke the basket-glass during warm-up before the beginning of the second half; the start of the third quarter was delayed so, until the damage was replaced. Gran Canaria remained at helm increasing the deficit to 12 points, 39-51, led by Moran and English in the third quarter. But, Panionios managed to react and built a 6-0 run within the period’s last minute mainly thanks to Giannis Georgalis and Brad Newley to make it 55-54 in favor of the hosts after 30 minutes. The game continued to go point-by-point to arrive at 62-61 for Panionios, when the guests forced the hosts to scoring silence and went for the deciding 8-0 streak based on their inside dominance with baskets coming from Norris and Caner-Medley for 62-69 till the final 74-79.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008