| Montepaschi Siena bounced back from its first loss of the season by thrashing SLUC Nancy 86-63 at home on Wednesday night. Montepaschi improved to 4-1 in Group B and remains tied for first place. Meanwhile, Nancy dropped to 1-4. Terrell McIntyre led the winners with 16 points. Romain Sato added 13, Ksistof Lavrinovic posted a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds in less than 20 minutes while Henry Domercant scored 11 points for Montepaschi. Cyril Julian led Nancy with 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting while Michel Morandais added 10 for the guests.
Nancy did not manage to even get a shot off in the opening three minutes, committing 4 turnovers in as many possessions. Montepaschi relied on Shaun Stonerook and McIntyre to get a safe lead, 25-17, at the end of the first quarter. Julian kept pacing Nancy, but did not find much help around. Meanwhile, Domercant, Kaukenas and a final three-pointer by Morris Finley broke the game open, 45-26, at halftime. Julian and Lamayne Wilson tried to change things in the second half, but Montepaschi kept using its trademark offense, always looking for the extra pass to get an easier shot, and cruised to a big home win.
Nancy struggled to score in the opening minutes, as Montepaschi was its usual self on defense. The guests committed 4 consecutive turnovers without even taking a shot, while Domercant and Ben Eze gave Montepaschi a 5-0 lead. Nancy called a much-needed timeout and Steed Tchicamboud got his team going with a stop-and-pop jumper. McIntyre buried a bomb from downtown as Nancy adjusted its defense. Even with that, Sato scored off a midcourt steal for a 10-2 Montepaschi margin. Julian hit free throws, which Stonerook matched with a tip-in. Julian kept pacing Nancy with consecutive baskets, but a reverse layup by Stonerook and another triple by McIntyre kept the hosts way ahead, 17-8. Wilson and Ricardo Greer sank free throws, but a red-hot Stonerook sank a jumper and Eze added an easy basket. Julian stepped up with a three-point play but Stonerook provided a highlight with a reverse dunk and McIntyre added a fast break layup. Michel Morandais got Nancy within 25-17 after 10 minutes.
John Cox stepped up with a put-back layup right at the start of the second quarter but Montepaschi soon readjusted its defense. The hosts started to miss some open shots, so Rimas Kaukenas found Lavrinovic for an uncontested layup. Julian took over with a wild move in the low post, but Kaukenas matched it with an easy basket and soon buried a triple off the dribble to make it a 12-point game. Ricardo Greer and Zaki Aboubacar made free throws, but Lavrinovic restored a double-digit Montepaschi margin, 35-24. Victor Samnick, now playing power forward as Nancy tried a small lineup, scored in the paint, but Domercant answered from downtown and soon added an outstanding driving layup to break the game open, 40-26. The guests kept struggling to find open shots while Kaukenas scored again and Morris Finley beat the buzzer with a triple for a 45-26 Montepaschi at halftime.
Nancy needed to improve its offense to get back in the game and Wilson quickly stepped up with a power layup. Sato erased it with free throws, but Nancy was a different team now. Cox sank a three-pointer from the top of the key and even when Eze shined with a put-back layup, Julian scored again to give the guests some hope at 49-33. Wilson provided a highlight with a wild alley-oop dunk, but Sato and Finley answered with back-to-back baskets to restore an 18-point Montepaschi lead. Julian scored around the basket, but Kaukenas and Stonerook sank foul shots for a 56-37 score. Cox finished a three-chance Nancy offense with a bomb from downtown, however the guests only managed to trade baskets now. Montepaschi sot Lavrinovic involved while Wilson took over with a fall-away jumper. McIntyre struck from downtown and even when Julian sank a jump hook, Lavrinovic and a dunk by Sato boosted the hosts' margin to 65-44 after 30 minutes.
Nancy needed a miracle comeback now and Julian tried to ignite it with an off-balance jumper and a second-chance layup. Michel Morandais added a big basket to get the guests within 65-50. Montepaschi could not find the way to the basket, but a three-point play Lavrinovic and a dunk by Sato got the hosts back on track at 70-50 midway through the fourth quarter. Everything was said and done up to that point, but as usual, Montepaschi stayed focused at both ends, trying to get the biggest possible win to please its fans. McIntyre sank a jumper that Tchicamboud bettered with a three-pointer. Domercant took over with a fast break basket that Ricardo Greer matched at the other end. And eventually, Montepaschi stopped pushing the accelerator, as it had already registered yet another massive home win.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008