Climamio had to battle all 40 minutes to register its first Top 16 win of the season by beating Panathinaikos 77-73 at home in Bologna, Italy in Group F on Wednesday. Both teams now share 1-1 records in the Group F standings, a victory behind 2-0 Tau Ceramica. Climamio had several protagonists, but the main one was Erazem Lorbek, who led the winners with 18 points, half of them in the last quarter, including a big three-pointer in the closing minutes. Milos Vujanic added 14 and Gianluca Basile 11, including several key shots each as Climamio rallied in the final quarter. Jaka Lakovic led Panathinaikos with 22 points, Vlado Scepanovic added 17 and Mike Batiste 12 for the Greens. An outstanding Lakovic helped Panathinaikos to get a 53-61 lead with 8 minutes to go, but Vujanic and Basile fueled a 13-0 run which put Climamio back in charge, and then Vujanic, Ruben Douglas and Basile combined 6 of 6 free throws in crunch time to seal the outcome.
Basile opened the scoring and Climamio started in a zone defense, but Panathinaikos took charge with 5 unanswered points by Lonny Baxter and a 2-7 advantage on the scoreboard after a dunk by Batiste. Cold shooting hurt Climamio early, as it missed 6 of 7 shots in 4 minutes before Vujanic scored on an offensive rebound while Baxter was benched with 3 fouls. Panathinaikos found another easy 0-7 with 4 points by Lakovic to make it 4-14 midway through the quarter. Dalibor Bagaric revived Climamio with a couple of jumpers, but when Dimitris Diamantidis buried the game's first triple, Panathinaikos led 10-19. The visitors' defense worked great in the passing lanes, forcing 5 Climamio turnovers in 8 minutes. Only Ruben Douglas could score for the hosts now but Vlado Scepanovic and Patrick Femerling matched him to preserve a 16-23 Panathinaikos edge after a quarter.
Scepanovic added a layup to the lead in second quarter that started slow, until Climamio big man Erazem Lorbek rattled in his team's first triple to make it 21-27. However, on the next possession, Lakovic answered from the arc, evading Douglas on a screen. Ibrahim Kutluay's free throws pushed the Panathinaikos lead to its maximum, 21-32, before the Climamio defense twice forced 24-second shot-clock violations on the Greens. Then, Marco Belinelli and Stefano Mancinelli found triples for Climamio to cut the difference to 29-33. Panathinaikos coach Zelimir Obradovic called on Fragiskos Alvertis then, and he quickly answered with 4 points in a row. Vujanic nailed his first triple but Batiste to score 4 points down the stretch to keep Panathinaikos in charge, 34-40, at halftime.
Douglas scored from downtown to open the second half but Batiste and Lakovic did the same. When Lakovic added another jump shot, Panathinaikos had an 11-point lead, 37-48. Bagaric scored 4 points to stir up the Bologna crowd and the effect was to help Climamio to stay in touch with Panathinaikos despite missed free throws. Scepanovic, on the contrary, didn't miss from the line and built a new double-digit advantage of 42-52. Then, however, Climamio hit a 5-0 burst in which Basile scored his first three-pointer and Mancinelli dunked. Panathinaikos, which had made just 3 shots that weren't free throws in the quarter, now got a big triple from Scepanovic before Lakovic drew Pozzecco's fourth foul and landed both foul shots. Pozzecco stayed and finished the quarter, however, with his driving layup setting up a 51-57 scoreboard after 30 minutes.
With the home crowd pushing hard, Lorbek's put-back opened the Climamio comeback. Even when Lakovic scored twice on penetrations, Basile and Lorbek again found buckets to make it 58-61. Panathinaikos expired the shot clock for a third time and Basile made the guests pay with an amazing three-pointer to tie 61-61. All the momentum went to the hosts with another triple from Vujanic, who then added a put-back to make it 66-61 with 4 minutes to play. Scepanovic broke a four-minute scoring drought for Panathinaikos with foul shots but Lorbek found a nice low post move and a triple to push the lead to its maximum, 71-65. Scepanovic scored inside, but score was stuck on 71-67 until Alvertis made free throws with 24 seconds to play. Vujanic went 2-for-2 from the line, Lakovic and Douglas did the same, but the win was staying in Bologna once Basile iced it with his own foul shots for the final 77-73.
Wednesday, March 2, 2005