Spartak outdueled Benetton Basket 78-87 on the road in Treviso, Italy, on Tuesday night to lay claim to first place in Group G with a 2-0 record. Loukas Mavrokefalides netted 21 points, Valery Likhodey put in 15 and Yotam Halperin added 14 for the winners. Jeff Adrien paced the losers with 22 points and 10 rebounds. After taking a 22-41 lead at the half, Spartak held off Benetton’s attempt at a comeback by getting more points at the foul line, committing fewer turnovers and coming up with timely steals. The losers are now in last place in the group with a 0-2 record.
The game started slowly as Anatoly Kashirov accounted for the only scoring in the first two minutes to give Spartak a 0-3 lead. Benetton got on the board a minute later when Gino Cuccarolo dunked. Then Alessandro Gentile knocked in a layup to take a 5-3 lead. The scoring picked up a bit when Spartak’s Valery Likhodey buried a triple, Benetton’s Massimo Bulleri hit 2 free throws and then Loukas Mavrokefalides hit a jumper to put Spartak out front 7-8. Patrick Beverly and Vladimir Dragicevic added free throws, Miha Zupan dunked and Aleksey Zozulin knocked down 2 more free throws to stake the visitors to a 7-15 lead. Jeff Adrien and Victor Keyru exchanged two pointers, then Benetton’s Twuan Moore dunk to make it 11-17 at the end of the quarter. Spartak climbed to 11-21 on layups by Janis Strelnieks and Zozulin to open the second quarter. Mavrokefalides accounted for the next 5 points, answered by 4 points from Jackub Wojciechowski and Moore to advance the score to 16-26. Keyru found the range again from outside, and Yotam Halperin followed with free throws to open a 16-31 lead for Spartak. Cuccarolo and Mavrokefalides exchanged baskets, then Likhodey added free throws and Halperin knocked down a layup as the visitors pushed the lead to 18-39. Spartak took a 22-41 lead into the half after Adrien hit a layup at the buzzer.
Benetton opened the third with an 8-point burst, including three-pointers by Gentile and Bulleri, but Likhody and Vladimir Dragicevic scored to limit the run and put the scoreboard at 30-47. Benetton kept chipping away, as Moore and Gentile scored to bring the hosts to 34-47. The game swayed back in Spartak’s favor however as the visitors took off on an 8-0 run of their own thanks to Mavrokefalides and Halperin, who hit 4 free throws, to push the lead back to 34-55. The next run belonged to Benetton, as Gentile and Bulleri each contributed 2 points and Adrien added 4 more to cut the lead to 43-55. A Moore jumper, free throws by Gentil and Brian Scalabrine’s first basket reduced the deficit to single digits, 49-58. But Spartak held off the comeback on free throws by Janis Strelnieks and a buzzer-beating layup by Zozulin to close the quarter up 49-62. After Zupan hit the first basket of the fourth, the two teams battled back and forth: Moore and Scalabrine put in 6 points for Benetton and then Mavrokefalides answered with 4 straight as the lead stayed in double figures. The scoring pace picked up as Adrien scored from the line and then hit a layup, but Beverly and Dragicevic added baskets to keep Spartak out of reach, 58-72. A Mavrokefalides jumper pushed the score to 61-74 with under five minutes to play. Benetton fought hard to get back in it through 6 points on a Bulleri three-pointer and a Moore layup and free throw that sliced the advantage to 67-77. But once again Mavrokefalides was there to shut the door with a big jumper. The hosts managed to slice the lead to 78-85 with 21 seconds to go, but that was as close as they could get, as Spartak grabbed the victory, 78-87.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011