| KK Buducnost went into this year’s Eurocup longing to make up for last year’s qualifying round elimination and had a statement game in the opener as it beat Siauliai 76-97 on the road Tuesday. Marko Simonovic scored 23 and Marko Scekic posted 22 plus 11 boards to pace the visitors, who were witout star ower forward Vladimir Dragicevic. Siauliai put up a fight early on thanks to 15 points by Ricky Harris, 14 by Vytautas Sarakauskas and 10 apiece by Darius Gvezdaukas and David Weaver, but could not topple Buducnost’s toughness in the paint. Aleksej Mesovic added 10 points and 4 assists for the winners, who combined for a deadly 14 of 27 on triples, and Gintaras Kadziulis scored 12. Buducnost hosts Gran Canaria 2014 next week, while Siauliai will seek its first win at Budivelnik.
Buducnost led throughout the game after jumping out to a 0-6 lead with three consecutive layups by Simonovic, Scekic and Kadziulis. A timeout allowed Gvezdaukas to hit a triple and a Sarakauskas jumper closed the gap to 5-6, but Siauliai never again got closer than 1 point for the remainder of the game. Scekic decided to take matters into his own hands to widen the margin and score 9 points in the quarter with a variety of penetration and mid-range shots that keyed a 5-14 run and a 16-22 lead going into the second quarter. Siauliai tried to counter from the perimeter, but Buducnost forced some turnovers, imposed its size and controlled the paint, winning the game’s rebounding battle 15-25. Back-to-back three-pointers by Nikola Otasevic with an added Simonovic triple widened the gap to 18-31. The hosts countered going to Sarakauskas often and he made three straight buckets from short range to keep his team in the game… though still behind, 34-43, entering the break.
Kadziulis started things off with another three-point bomb in the third quarter, in which Ricky Harris started pushing the tempo for Siauliai. But after his layup made it 38-48, the visitors were the ones pushing on all cylinders, as they tightened the defense and, fueled by 9 of 13 shooting and 5 triples, had a 13-25 run that left the game out of reach for head coach Antanas Sireika’s side, which trailed 55-75 by the end of the quarter. Still, the hosts persevered enough to make it interesting at 64-79 with six minutes to go, thanks to David Weaver finding his mid-range stroke and Edvinas Ruzgas hitting from long distance. But they were never closer, as Buducnost drove its lead well into the closing minutes, controlling the tempo and the clock to finish at ease and on top with their first win of the regular season.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010