| Zadar took over first place in Group A with two weeks left in the regular season as it defeated visiting Chorale Roanne 82-70 on Tuesday at home in Croatia. Zadar is now 3-1, a victory ahead of two teams tied for second place, while Roanne dropped to last place at 1-3. Zadar didn't put the lid on a tight game until the fourth quarter, when it grabbed its first double-digit leads since the first half. A big advantage on the boards and more than double Roanne's assists proved key factors for the winners, who got a huge 18-point, 14-rebound double-double off the bench from Deyan Ivanov. He and Todor Gecevski, who had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, helped Zadar outrebound Roanne 32-22. Damir Rancic added 16 points, Juby Johnson 13 and Rok Stipcevicc 10 plus 5 assists for the winners.Chris Monroe paced Roanne with 23 points. Mohamed Kone added 14 and 9 rebounds, while Curtis Sumpter scored 12 and Pierric Poupet 10 for the visitors.
After Marc-Antoine Pellin opened the scoring for the visitors, Johnson's three-pointer and Jere Macura layup had Zadar up 5-2. Stipcevic upped the difference to 10-6 with a triple before Kone got Roanne within 12-11 with 5 consecutive points. Zadar's defense tightened then, however, as Ivanov, Marlon Garnett and Johnson boosted the lead to 20-13 after 10 minutes. Zadar flirted with double-digit leads early in the second quarter, but points by Ivanov, Rancic and Stipcevic were off-set by those of Kone, Karim Souchu and Monroe. Hrvoje Peric finally broke the double-digit barrier with a layup at 30-19, but Poupet's 4 points in a row woke Roanne. When Kone and Sumpter resumed scoring, the visitors were within 32-27. Stipcevic stopped the Zadar slide with a big shot from downtown, but Kone answered fro Roanne and Sumpter got it within 35-32 before Rancic ended the half from long range, good for a 38-32 advantage for the hosts.
Johnson opened the second half as he did the first, from downtown, but Sumpter's just-as-deep answer showed Roanne was going to hang tough, as Monroe's free throws meant a 41-38 scoreboard. Ivanov, Stipcevic and Gecevski kept the hosts a step ahead even as Monroe's next burst of 5 consecutive points cut the difference to 54-51. Again, a Zadar triple, by Gecevski, was answered in kind by Poupet of Roanne before Johnson's free throws let the hosts hold a 59-54 advantage after 30 minutes. Yet another triple trade, Rancic and Poupet, opened the final quearter. Ivanov took over now with twin layups that set up the next long-range bomb by Rancic for a 69-60 Zadar lead. Roanne waited a couple minutes before its response this time, but Monroe's next shot from the arc made it a six-point game, 71-65, with 6 minutes left. Ivanovic and Rancic worked inside to push the difference to double digits finally, 77-67, with 3 minutes left, not enough time for Roanne to rally out of last place.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008