| Benetton Bwin defeated BG Goettingen at the Palaverde 84-62 on Wednesday night to earn the right to play the Eurocup Finals in its home. Benetton will rematch Last 16 foe Cajasol in the semifinals on April 16 with an eye on the Eurocup prize.. Benetton needed to win Game 2 of the quarterfinals against Goettingen after tying Game 1 in Germany a week ago, 66-66, and was able to notch the definitive victory thanks to a 15-0 run at the end of the first quarter and an impressive domination of the paint throughout the game. Devin Smith paced the winners with 22 points on a 5-of-7-shooting performance from three-point range and Massimo Bulleri added 15 points and 5 assists, while Alessandro Gentile recorded 13 points and Stefan Markovic and Greg Bunner tallied 10 points each, with Markovic also dishing 10 assists. Goettingen could not overcome a 38-29 disadvantage in the rebounding battle and a 33%-shooting night on three-pointers. Dwayne Anderson led the Violets with 25 points and 7 rebounds. John Little also scored 16 points and bagged 4 steals, while Kyle Bailey added 11 points in defeat. The loss ended a fine debut season for Goettingen in the competition.
Goettigen got off to an inspiring 4-8 start through Dwayne Anderson, who scored his team’s first 8 points as Jason Boone and Brian Skinner banged under the rim to set an early tone. With the visitors effectively defending the paint, Skinner opted to step back and hit mid-rangers, but it was Robert Kulawick and Bailey who stretched the floor at the other end, swishing consecutive three-point bombs to give the visitors a 6-14 lead and force Benetton boss Jasmin Repesa to burn his first timeout. Goettingen was red-hot form beyond the arc in the first quarter, as Bailey drained his second and Anderson tacked on for a perfect 6-for-6 from downtown. The 10-20 start seemed to awaken Smith and he dropped 2 straight triples to answer, sparking 15 unanswered points by Benetton to close the first quarter in front 25-20.
Anderson finally broke the dry stretch for Goettingen after the break by swishing a triple, but Benetton sealed the painted area on defense and moved the ball crisply on offense to set up a 30-23 advantage after a Bulleri three-pointer and Greg Brunner layup. The Violets lived on the perimeter while the hosts worked from the pick-and-roll with Skinner and Markovic when they weren’t looking to set up Smith, like on the guard’s corner three-pointer to establish a 37-30 advantage. Trent Meacham finally got going for the visitors with his first shot from beyond the arc, but it was Smith who carried his team with his fourth triple in five attempts as Benetton finished the half strong, on top 45-37 entering the break.
The home side kept its foot on the pedal to start the third quarter with a 6-0 run that Anderson altered with a layup, confirming his penchant for hot starts and later setting up a Boone dunk with an offensive rebound to keep his team within striking distance at 51-41. A Little triple capped a 0-7 counter by Goettingen, who cranked it up defensively in an effort to better contain Smith and push the ball up the court offensively. But Markovic controlled the tempo masterfully despite the visitor’s press and notched his 6th assist on a gorgeous feed to Brunner for a dunk, as the forward then added a layup to keep his team in the driver’s seat, 62-48. As the raucous crowd kept the pressure on high on the visiting team, Bulleri made sure to close Benetton’s third quarter on a high note by swishing a deep three-pointer that made it 65-50.
The game slowed down in the final quarter, with Goettingen feeling the weight of the deficit and the clock, but unable to speed up its transition game against the hosts’ disciplined defense. Anderson could not shake loose this time around, as Repesa’s crew keyed on the guard and hit the offensive glass to generate second-chance opportunities that slowly deflated the visitors. Bailey still broke through for a fast-break layup that tightened the difference to 13 points with five minutes remaining, but the Violets’ excessive one-on-one play down the stretch proved fatal against Benetton’s strong frontcourt, as its big men closed in on drivers and sealed the rim. Little found the bottom of the net on a step-back triple for the visitors, but the two-minute mark was reached at a game-high 80-58 advantage for the home team and consecutive triples by Alessandro Gentile and Smith capped a definitive 8-0 run and effectively sealed a spot in the Eurocup Finals for Benetton.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011