A redemptive overtime catapulted Eurocup newcomer Cedevita to a tie for first place in Group D with an exciting 81-76 victory over visiting Aris BSA 2003 at home in Zagreb, Croatia on Tuesday. Cedevita now ties Airs at 2-1 for first place in the group, with both teams due to meet in Thessaloniki, Greece next week. After a back-and-forth first half, Cedevita nursed small leads during the second half until a pair of missed free throws by Corsely Edwards gave Aris veteran Nikos Hatzivrettas to send the game to overtime with a three-pointer. In the extra period, Edwards made up big-time, scoring 5 points and assisting the only three-pointer made in those 5 minutes to make sure the victory stayed in Zagreb. Cedevita, which played without veteran forwards Vedran Vukusic and Marino Bazdaric, got super scoring all night from Dajman Rudez, who finished with 24 points, and from Dantaye Draper, who had 22. Edwards finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Aris, playing without injured Christos Tapoutos, got 15 points each from Dejan Borovnjak 15 and Kostas Charalampidis, 14 from Hatzivrettas, and 11 from Tucker, who had averaged 26 in the first two games.
Aris went inside to Tucker and Borovnjak to take a quick 2-8 lead on the scoreboard. Cedevita counted with Draper's pair of layups and his assist to Rudez for a go-ahead triple at 11-10. The hosts' run ended at 11-2 with Trent Plaisted's free throws, the same weapon Kostsas Charalampidis used to give the lead back to Aris at 13-14. Rudez had the first quarter's last word on a jumper that put the hosts back on top, 15-14. Aris tried to escape again as inside baskets by Borovnjak opened a 17-22 edge early in the second quarter and Michalis Tsairelis maintained it at 21-26 with two driving baskets. Draper and Rudez mounted another charge for Cedevita, with the latter hitting 2 three-pointers among 8 consecutive points to tie it up 31-31. Robert Troha took the honor of a go-ahead layup, but Gaios Skordilis and Hatzivrettas responded for Aris to regain a 35-36 lead at halftime, by which time Rudez had 19 points.
The trend lines continued with lead changes and small advantages into the second half, this time with Cedevita getting ahead 42-38 on yet another Rudez triple, although soon Borovnjak and Hatzivrettas had cut the difference to a single point. Dueling triples by Troha and Hatzivrettas kept it close, but Draper kept scoring both ways to give Cedevita its biggest lead het, 52-46. This time, the lead was not only protected, but lengthened, as Plaisted joined Draper to keep the hosts in charge, 58-51, after 30 minutes. Aris refused to go away, however, relying on Borovnjak and Tsairelis getting to the rim for a 2-7 run to start the final quarter. Vedran Princ and Corsely Edwards picked up the Cedevita scoring now, but as baskets came slow, Charalampidis came up with a huge three-point play to make it 66-64 game going into the last 2 minutes. Draper was perfect at the line to calm the hosts and make it 68-64. Charalampidis answered with a layup, and when Aris fouled Edwards, who went 1 of 2 at the line twice, it left a last possession for the visitors, down 70-67. The ball went to the veteran Hatzivrettas, who knew exactly what to do, drilling a triple to send the game to OT.
Once there, Aris tried got the upper hand, 70-73, on a basket by Kostas Sloukas, but Corsley quickly took over with a free throw, a dunk and an assist on Troha's triple to make it 76-73. Cedevita's defense did the rest, limiting Aris to a single free throw while Tomislav Petrovic and Corsley, with another dunk, made it 81-74 and left the crowd in Zagreb with great memories of a big win over a famous guest.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010