| Caja Laboral stayed in the race to win Group C by downing Maroussi BC 73-65 in Vitoria, Spain on Wednesday night. Laboral improved to 7-2 and has the chance to win Group C if it beats CSKA in Moscow, Russia, next week. Meanwhile, Maroussi went down to 3-6 but will keep fourth place if Maccabi Electra beats Lottomatica Roma in Tel Aviv, Israel, tomorrow. Maroussi will reach the Top 16 if it beats Maccabi next week and Roma loses at least once. If can also go trhough losing against Maccabi if Roma loses both games - tomorrow and next week. Fernando San Emeterio and Mirza Teletovic paced the winners each with 15 points. Tiago Splitter added 14 on 7-of-9 two-pointers for Laboral. Billy Keys and Dimitrios Mavroeidis each had 12 points for Maroussi while Jared Homan added 11 for the guests, that led 2-14 early. Splitter and Teletovic brought Laboral back to life, 16-19, after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Carl English gave Laboral its first lead, 31-30, near halftime. A driving basket by Kostas Kaimakoglou allowed Maroussi to ge tits last tie, 34-34, soon after the break. San Emeterio led a 15-0 run that broke the game open, 49-34, as Maroussi only rallied once the outcome was clear.
Jamon Lucas got Maroussi going with an alleyoop dunk and Kaimakoglou struck from downtown for a 0-5 lead. Laboral struggled to score in the early going until San Emeterio stepped up with a driving basket. Homan shined with a big basket in the low post and added a four-meter jumper to boost the guests' lead to 2-9. Maroussi kept excelling in defense, not allowing Laboral to circulate the ball. Meanwhile, a floating jumper by Kaimakoglou and a three-pointer by Pelekanos made all Laboral fans start to wonder at 2-14. Splitter scored down low, Teletovic dunked it and Marcelo Huertas scored off an inbound steal to get the crowd involved at 8-14. Huertas fed Splitter for an easy basket but Homan bettered that with a layup-plus-foul. Coach Dusko Ivanovic opted for a taller lineup with Walter Herrmann at small forward. Teletovic buried a three-pointer to bring Laboral back to life at 14-19. The hosts had adjusted their defense and Teletovic beat the buzzer with a floating jumper that fixed the score at 16-19 after 10 minutes.
Homan scored again early in the second quarter, as Maroussi tried to open the court with Stevan Nadjfeji at power forward. Laboral managed to get Eliyahu involved, as he scored twice in the paint to keep his team as close as 20-23. He didn't find much help around, however, while Nadjfeji shined with a backdoor layup. Laboral opted to speed up the game tempo now with Sean Singletary and English at both guard spots. Stanko Barac and Sean Singletary sank free throws to make Maroussi call a much-needed timeout at 23-25. The guests had started to miss open shots but a three-pointer by Keys boosted Maroussi's lead to 23-28. English answered with a wide open corner triple but Maroussi kept dominating the game tempo, using long possessions and closing all passing lines. Keys sank free throws that San Emeterio erased with a driving layup for a 28-30 Laboral deficit. A running three-pointer by English gave Laboral its first lead, 31-30. Keys sank a huge step-back jumper to put Maroussi back ahead, 31-32, at halftime.
Laboral try to speed the game tempo with Huertas at point guard right after the break. Teletovic shined with a layup-plus-foul but a driving basket by Kaimakoglou tied the game again, 34-34. San Emeterio beat the shot clock with a wild driving basket and Splitter added a reverse layup to get the crowd involved at 38-34. San Emeterio scored again in a quick transition to make Maroussi call timeout. The guests kept struggling to score. Meanwhile, English shined with a layup, San Emeterio sank free throws and Teletovic nailed his trademark shot from way downtown to boost Laboral's lead to 47-34. Splitter fed San Emeterio for a layup that capped a game-breaking 15-0 run. Maroussi had been scoreless for more than 5 minutes until Igor Milosevic downed a three-pointer. San Emeterio answered from downtown, as Homan tried to change things for the guests. Keys followed an acrobatic layup with a three-pointer but a dominant Splitter took over with a wild alleyoop dunk that kept Laboral way ahead, 58-44, after 30 minutes.
Maroussi needed a quick comeback to keep its options alive but Laboral kept dominating the game with its outstanding man-to-man defense. San Emeterio found Splitter twice for consecutive baskets that sealed the outcome, 62-44, with 8 minutes left. Maroussi kept trying, however, as Laboral opted to use its second lineup now. Lucas followed a layup with a fast break dunk to give the guests some hope at 62-48. Eliyahu set the crowd on fire with a two-handed dunk but Mavroeidis and back-to-back baskets by Milosevic and Pelekanos got Maroussi as close as 66-55 with over 3 minutes left. Pau Ribas sank a three-pointer and by the time Eliyahu scored in transition, everything was said and done already as Maroussi's late rally was too little, too late for the guests. Laboral will fight for first place against CSKA next week, in already a modern classic showdown in Euroleague's recent history. Meanwhile, Maroussi hopes to grab its Top 16 berth at home against Maccabi in Game 10.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010