| Pepsi Caserta won its Eurocup Last 16 opener at home by beating Galatasaray Café Crown 81-76 in overtime in Group K. The win was possible thanks to a 12-7 difference in the extra period after Galatasaray had stormed back in the fourth quarter with a 12-21 advantage. An impressive performance by Jumaine Jones, whose late free throws sent the game to overtime, was key to the victory. Jones hit 4 of 8 three-point shots for 18 points to go with 11 rebounds. Caserta was led by Ebi Ere’s 19 points on 3-of-7 three-point shooting, while Fabio Di Bella and Timmy Bowers added 17 and 10 points, respectively. Galatasaray used a strong inside game that netted 40 points in the paint, but it was not enough in the end. Point guard Taylor Rochestie paced the vicitors with 16 points, Luksa Andric scored 15, Jerry Johnson had 14 in his debut and Ermal Kuqo added 13. Caserta will travel to play CEZ Nymburk next week at the Czech Republic, while Galatasaray will host Asefa Estudiantes.
The visitors pounded the offensive glass early, but were unable to hit from outside, missing 4-of-5 three-point attempts in the first quarter. Caserta capitalized on an attacking style that netted 6 trips to the line to lead 18-13 after 10 minutes despite 7 points by Galatasaray’s Kuqo. The visitors kept plowing inside, but missing from beyond the arc. Galatasaray took a 22-24 lead after a couple of Açik Tutku free throws only to see Jones swish a three-pointer to put Caserta back in front and spark a 12-0 run that left the home team ahead by 10. Bowers capped the hosts’ scoring at the half with another long range bomb for a 37-27 advantage.
Jones remained accurate from long distance in the second half, netting two more three pointers to keep Caserta at a comfortable 45-32 difference. Galatasaray’s Josh Shipp was slow to get going, as it was Kuqo who kept the visitors in the game with his 11th point after Rochestie finally scored from long range. Preston Shumpert, who totaled 5 steals in the game, and Martin Colussi traded baskets before a red-hot Jones scored again on a triple and Johnson answered with one of his one and a layup to reach the final period at 57-48. The visitors decided to attack the basket after the break and three straight layups by Johnson, Kuqo and Rochestie tightened the gap to 57-54 before Eric Williams was able to answer from close range. Galatasaray was determined to regain the lead and put together an impressive defensive stretch that forced 4 Caserta turnovers and allowed the visiting squad to finally pull ahead, 59-60, on a Johnson triple. With Jones suddenly cold from deep range, Galatasaray called Andric’s number and the center delivered with a layup and a three-point play to widen the lead to 61-65 with two minutes left. Johnson then scored on a close look and Ebi Ere converted a couple of foul shots to make it a one possession game at 64-67 with a minute to go. Andric again came through for the visitors with a put-back off an offensive miss before Di Bella swished a three pointer to make it 67-69. Tutku was unable to ice it from the free throw line, missing both his shots and opening the door for Jones to send the game into overtime by cashing his: 69-69.
Bowers hit first in the extra period, but Andric was feeling it and answered back with Galatasaray’s 40th point in the paint. But the hosts would survive a three-point attempt by Shumpert to score 6 unanswered points capped by an Aaron Doornekamp bucket. With two minutes left in overtime and a 77-71 home lead, Tutku committed a turnover and Galatasaray was only able to score on 2 Rochestie free throws and a triple to come as close as 81-76 in the final minute. Finally out of gas and time, the visitors surrendered and Caserta exhaled, walking away with the victory.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011