Facing the prospect of falling into a two-loss hole in Group C, Pau-Orthez rallied on road to beat Ulker 70-75 on Wednesday in Istanbul. Pau had trailed by 10 points shortly before halftime, but erased the deficit and overcame several late ties thanks to 5 points in the last 2 minutes by Artur Drozdov. Both teams are now 1-1 in Group A, each having won away and lost at home. Laurent Foirest led the winners with 18 points, while Drozdov added 16 and Dzenan Rahimic 15. Four Ulker players scored in double figures, led by Saulius Stombergas with 15 points. Kerem Tunceri added 12, Eurelijus Zukauskas and Virginius Praskevicius 10 each.
Pau-Orthez started the game better than Ulker. Despite having the first basket by Stombergas, Ulker seemed weak on rebounds as Pau took early control of the proceedings with a 9-2 lead after 3 minutes on a basket by Artur Drozdov. Ulker upped the defensive pressure on Pau and tried to be much more aggressive on the boards. It worked, and a three-pointer by Stombergas capped a 10-3 run for the home team that tied the scoreboard at 12-12. Drozdov dunked to send Pau ahead again, but soon Ulker guard Serkan Erdogan was landing a shot from the arc to give his team its first lead, 20-19. Ulker was locked in a zone that gave Pau trouble during the closing minutes, so when Zukauskas made a layup, Ulker had turned things around to lead 26-21 after on quarter.
In the second quarter, it was Dion Glover's turn to lead Ulker. With more good defense leading to fastbreaks, the Ulker lead grew by the minute. Pau continued to struggle against the Ulker zone, while Glover and Tutku Acik teamed up to create 9 points in 3 minutes for the hosts. At the end of the 16th minute, Virginijus Praskevicius did the honor of scoring to push the lead to 10 points, 43-33, but that would be Ulker's highest advantage of the half. Thierry Rupert and Foirest, with a triple, got 5 points back for Pau before Kerem Tunceri's inside drive for a layup finished the half with Ulker enjoying a seven-point advantage, 45-38. Zukauskas had 10 points to lead Ulker by then, while Foirest was up to 9 for the guests from Pau.
Pau completed its own turnaround quickly in the third quarter, blasting off 7 unanswered points in less than 2 minutes to tie 45-45 on an inside basket by Rahimic. The visitors continued their run with two more baskets in close by T.J.Lux and a short jump shot by Rahimic. Almost halfway through the quarter, Pau had a 2-13 run and a 47-51 lead, and also managed to take the Ulker crowd out of the game momentarily. Ulker struggled against Pau's aggressive man-to-man defense as turnovers and missed attempts followed each other during 6 long minutes. Pau boosted the lead to 7 points, 54-61, with a spectacular alley-oop dunk from Mire Chatman to Drozdov. Thanks to another basket by Rahimic, who had 8 points in the quarter, the difference held at 56-63 in Pau's favor after 30 minutes.
Now Ulker did what it needed to get back in the game, keeping Pau scoreless for nearly 5 minutes of the final quarter. In that time, Ulker mounted its own 7-0 run that ended with a basket and free throw by Erdogan forging a 63-63 tie with just over 7 minutes remaining. The game turned to a real battle then. Back and forth it went with several ties until Drozdov landed a killer three-pointer in the next-to-last minute to put Pau ahead for good, 68-71. Pau's defense took over then, as Ulker's efforts met with turnovers and bad shot selection, forcing the home team to foul to stop the clock. A pair of free throws by Foirest made ti 68-72 with 31 seconds left. He and Glover missed a pair of foul shots each before Drozdov punctuated Pau's comeback victory with a dunk that sentenced the outcome for sure.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004