| Air Avellino pleased its fans with a final Euroleague win in its final Euroleague game season by edging Cibona 81-75 at home in Group A on Thursday. Avellino finished Group A fifth with a 3-7 record and broke its five-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Cibona was fourth at 5-5 and had already qualified to the Top 16. Drake Diener led the winners with 20 points on 6-for-8 two-pointers and 2-for-2 triples. Eric Williams added 14 points on 6-for-7 two-pointers, Chris Warren had 12 while Tamar Slay got 10 for Avellino. Earl Calloway led Cibona with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Niksa Prkacin added 17 points while Alan Anderson had 14 for the guests, that led 13-18 after 10 minutes. Warren and Diener shined late in the first half to give Avellino a five-point lead, 41-36, at halftime. Avellino led all the way in the final minutes, but Andeson got Cibona within 73-72. Diener stepped up with a key basket while Nikola Radulovic followed free throws with a fast break dunk to make Avellino step out of the competition with its third home win.
Avellino ran its offense through Marko Tusek in the opening minutes, as he sank a six-meter shot from the left wing and soon added a triple from the top of the key for a 5-0 lead. Luksa Andric got Cibona going with free throws by Warren gave the hosts a 7-2 edge. Davor Kus shined with a driving layup while Calloway struck from downtown to tie the game, 7-7. Williams took over with a dunk but a free throw by Kus and Prkacin also dunked it to give Cibona its first lead, 9-10. Williams kept pacing Avellino but Prkacin provided a highlight with an alleyoop layup that Calloway followed with a fast break basket to restore a 11-14 Avellino lead. Slay sank free throws that Andric matched with a lightning quick fast break dunk. Avellino tried to speed up the game tempo without much success. Meanwhile, a final basket by Kus extended the guests' lead to 13-18 at the end of the first quarter.
Avellino tired to open the court with Drake Diener and Radulovic on court now. Meanwhile, Slay and Williams sank free throws to get the hosts within 17-18. Slay took over with an outstanding dunk in traffic. Anderson answered from downtown to restore a 19-21 Cibona edge. Diener scored coming off the baseline that Anderson erased with foul shots. Radulovic and Bruno Sundov traded three-pointers while a jumper by Williams tied it at 26-26. Calloway took over with a layup-plus-foul but free throws by Diener and a dunk by Warren restored a 30-29 Avellino edge. Robert Troha nailed a triple but back-to-back dunks by Warren and Diener provided another lead change, 34-32. Williams scored down low but a fast break dunk by Anderson kept Cibona within 36-34. Williams slammed it in the other end but a driving basket by an unstoppable Anderson got Cibona as close as 39-36. A driving layup by Diener fixed the halftime score at 41-36.
Free throws by Andric allowed Cibona to get within 41-38 right after the break. Avellino went scoreless for more than 2 minutes, as Cibona had adjusted its man-to-man defense. Meanwhile, Kus fired in a jumper while Prkacin banked in a close shot to put the guests back ahead, 41-42. Calloway capped a 0-8 Cibona run with a layup, but a free throw by Andrea Crosariol and a put-back basket by Slay tied the game again, 44-44. Points came the hard way now, as free throws by Crosariol and Antonio Porta allowed Avellino to get back the lead, 47-44. Prkacin and Anderson combined for 5-of-6 foul shots to provide another lead change, 47-49. Avellino tried to get Slay involved as his free throws tied the game again, 51-51. A put-back layup by Pete Lisicki and a huge block by Crosariol allowed Avellino to get a 53-51 edge after 30 minutes.
Warren scored again early in the fourth quarter but Avellino struggled to score. Meanwhile, Anderson buried a jumper while Sundov scored down low for a 55-55 tie. Diener got the crowd involved with a bomb from downtown but a put-back layup by Andric kept Cibona within 58-57. Calloway stepped up with a driving layup that Warren erased with a big basket. Diener shined with a driving basket to give Avelino a 63-60 edge with over 4 minutes remaining. Calloway and Prkacin combined for 4 quick points but a three-pointer by Diener restored a 66-64 Avellino edge. Warren scored again but Prkacin took over with a big dunk. Porta nailed a corner triple but Calloway immediately answered from downtown for a 71-69 Cibona deficit. Prkacin made a free throw while Porta hit two for a 73-70 score with 1:25 to go. Anderson and Diener traded baskets for a 75-72 Avellino lead with 45 seconds remaining. Calloway hit a foul shot while Cibona could not score in a four-chance offense. Free throws by Radulovic sealed the outcome with 24.3 seconds to go, allowing all Avellino fans to celebrate their team's last Euroleague win this season.
Thursday, January 15, 2009