Montepaschi Siena downed Cibona 66-82
Montepaschi Siena became the first Turkish Airlines Euroleague team to reach seven victories this season when it bested winless Cibona Zagreb 66-82 at the Drazen Petrovic Basketball Center on Wednesday, making the hosts the first team eliminated from Top 16 contention. Rimantas Kaukenas and Pietro Aradori combined for 10 points in a 2-16 second-quarter charge that gave the visitors control for good. Montepaschi will at least retain its part of tie for first place in Group C, depending on Thursday's results. Kaukenas shined with 20 points and 5 assists – both season highs – and Ksistof Lavrinovic added 16 points to lead the Italian champs. Montepaschi heads home to face Fenerbahce Ulker in a top-of-the-tabel clash next week. Leon Radosevic scored a Euroleague career-high 20 points for Cibona in a losing effort. Cibona was mathematically eliminated from Top 16 contention with the loss, but will keep on searching for its first win next week when it visits Cholet Basket. Also for Cibona, Tomislav Zubcic added 15 and Rok Stipcevic scored 14 – season highs for both – in defeat.
David Moss and Goran Vrbanc opened up the scoring by trading layups. Malik Hairston added couple of buckets for Siena, and after a technical foul by Cibona head coach Zdravko Radulovic, it was Moss who gave the visitors 3-8 lead at the foul line. Vrbanc immediately responded with a jump shot, and Zubcic's nice layup brought Cibona quickly within a point, 7-8. Both teams then went scoreless for more than 2 minutes, and Siena's drought continued for almost 6 minutes before Lavrinovic hit from behind the arc for an 8-11 lead. By that time both coaches have already sent back-up point guards to he floor, but with Karlo Vragovic and Nikos Zisis running the show, the low-scoring affair continued as defenses kept dominating. Kaukenas made a steal and 2 free throws to keep the visitors ahead, but Radosevic ended the quarter with a two-point jump shot to tie it 15-15 after 10 minutes.
Kaukenas continued scoring for Siena to open the second quarter with an easy driving layup and a five-meter jump shot. After Pietro Aradori hit 2 free throws, and Zubcic answered from close range, Kaukenas scored 5 more points, including his first triple, for a 19-26 Siena advantage after 14 minutes. Zisis and Aradori continued to convert for the visitors, with Milovan Rakovic and Hairston joining them, as Siena started pulling away to a 21-35 lead. In a seven-minute span of the second quarter, Siena outscored Cibona 4-17, a run that was stopped by Stipcevic from the three-point arc with 2 minutes left in the half. Bo McCalebb answered him with a triple before Stipcevic downed a couple of free throws to cut the difference to 26-38, in Siena's favor, after 20 minutes.
Radosevic made 2 of 2 free throws and Zubcic a three-pointer to help Cibona narrow the gap to a single digits to start the third quarter. A triple by Kaukenas against Cibona's zone defense reversed that trend, and Shaun Stonerook soon dropped a basket-plus-free throw to restore a 15-point advantage, 33-48, after 25 minutes. Zubcic made 3 of 4 free throws and Bojan Bogdanovic a three-pointer to give Cibona some hope, but Tomas Ress, Kaukenas, Lavrinovic and McCalebb soon helped Siena retain its 15-point lead. The Zagreb crowed gave a loud cheer to 17-year-old power forward Stipe Krstanovic when he scored his first career Euroleague bucket to cut the deficit to 45-56, but Zisis silenced the crowd by hitting a triple on the third-quarter buzzer, good for a 45-59 Siena lead after 30 minutes.
Lavrinovic hit another triple at the beginning of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 45-62, but Radosevic and Krstanovic prevented the visitors from widening the margin for a few more minutes. Marco Carrareto's triple from the right corner, and two layups on fast breaks by Kaukenas and Aradori, gave the visitors their first and only 20-point lead, 59-79, after 37 minutes. In the final 3 minutes of the game Zubcic and Stipcevic made a little 7-1 run for Cibona Zagreb before Andrea Michelori finished the scoring with a buzzer-beating tip-in, a nice touch as Siena became the first Euroleague team to record 7 victories.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010