|At first and second place, respectively, in the Group F Standings, 3-0 Benetton Basket Bwin and 2-1 Asefa Estudiantes will meet Tuesday in Italy with their sights set on the Last 16. Benetton stands as only one of five unbeaten teams left in the competition and would mathematically qualify with a win, while Estudiantes’s only loss came at the expense of the Italian squad last week, and by single digits. The problem was closing the glass, though, as Benetton enjoyed a 38-18 rebounding edge, in part thanks to Greg Brunner’s 10 boards. Devin Smith was the key player for the Treviso squad, as he hit 5 triples for 22 points, and Alessandro Gentile followed with 10 points. Stefan Markovic, Benetton’s floor general, was more intent on setting up his teammates than scoring on his own and he dished out 6 assists, though usual sharpshooter Ryan Toolson was unable to capitalize from three-point territory. Young center Donatas Motiejunas keeps making strides for Benetton, which should open up looks for veteran Massimo Bulleri and teenager Gentile beyond the arc. Estudiantes will have to keep the defensive intensity on high, as it allowed 80 points last week after permitting no more than 62 in its first two games. The offense will again be in good hands with steady Jayson Granger manning the point, as he averages more than 5 assists per game, while guard Pancho Jasen and forward Nik Caner-Medley have proved they can score with the best of them and Tyronne Ellis posts quite a deep threat. Benetton head coach Jasmin Repesa will keep them in mind on defensive assignments, as well as the talented frontcourt duo of Gabriel and Josh Asselin. Sandro Nicevic provides some insurance for Benetton in the paint, while Estudiantes head coach Luis Casimiro also has plenty of depth in forward Daniel Clark or heady guard Jiri Welsch.
REFEREES: Robert Lottermoser, Oliver Krause, Sergey Zashchuk
Monday, December 06, 2010