CEZ Basket Nymburk improved its chances of climbing into the elimination rounds after a 77-86 road win over Panellinios on Tuesday night. The Czech champs improved to 5-3 and moved past Red Star Belgrade for second place in Group F, now needing only one win in its remaining two games to move into the elimination rounds in their debut ULEB Cup season. Monty Mack and Radoslav Rancik scored 20 points apiece to lead the Nymburk charge. The visitors jumped out to an early lead and never faltered. Strong minutes from Mack made it 19-38 in the second period before Panellinios cut the gap to 27-44 at halftime. Nymburk led comfortably for most of the second half, until Nikos Argyropoulos and Damir Rancic took part in a late run that got the hosts within 5. However the visitors were accurate from the line down the stretch to seal the win. Arthur Lee added 14 points and Ladislav Sokolovsky dished a season-high 6 assists for the winners. Anthony Grundy led Panellinios with 17 points, Milan Dozet added 16, Lewis Sims had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Argyropoulos scored 10.
Pavel Slevas scored 5 points and dished an assist as CEZ Nymburk jumped out to a 6-9 lead. Grundy stepped up and knocked down consecutive jumpers to keep Panellinios within 10-12, however the hosts were prone to turnovers and soon Rancik punished them twice from beyond the arc to give the guests a 13-19. On the other end, Evangelos Sklavos failed to copy him from downtown and Arthur Lee drove to the basket for a 13-21 lead after 10 minutes of play. In the second period, Nymburk kept capitalizing on its ability to play the pick-and-roll and used a 2-10 run to march to an emphatic 17-31 gap. And if that wasn’t enough, Mack picked up the scoring slack – 10 points during a seven-minute stretch – to boost the lead to 19-38. The hosts had clearly collapsed mentally, as they bricked 8 consecutive free throws and were lethargic on defense. As a result, even though Pantelis Papaioakeim came off the bench to finally reinvigorate the Panellinios offense, Nymburk cruised to a 27-44 halftime lead. Grundy contributed 5 quick points and Sims capped a 7-2 spurt to trim the lead to 36-48. After a Muli Katzurin timeout, the highly effective backcourt tandem of Mack and Lee heated up against the hosts’ zone defense. They combined for 7 points, which allowed Nymburk to remain in the driver’s seat, 41-55. Panellinios picked up its defensive intensity, yet the hosts’ inability to score from three-point land fixed the score at 48-60 with one period left to play. Then, the guests went on a 0-7 run, thanks to reserves Blake Schilb and Pavel Benes, to put any thoughts of a Panellinios comeback to rest. With the minutes ticking away, the hosts made a final attempt to rally back when Lee was given a technical foul with the score at 63-75. Argyropoulos hit the free throws that came with it and in the following possession Rancic scored a triple to cut the lead to 70-75. However, Elias Zouros’s players could not get closer than 75-80, as Nymburk did not falter from the charity line en route to a 77-86 away win.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008