| Cibona stayed in the race to make it to the Top 16 in regular season Group A by rallying from an 18-point deficit to edge Fenerbahce Ulker 80-77 in Zagreb, Croatia on Wednesday night. Cibona improved to 2-6 and is fifth in Group A, one win away from FB Ulker, fourth at 3-5. Cibona visits Zalgiris in the next round and closes the regular season with a home game against Asvel Basket, so it keeps all chances open to make it to the next round. Fener visits Montepaschi in Game 9 and hosts Zalgiris to end up the regular season. Marko Tomas led the winners with 28 points on 6-of-10 three-pointers. Luksa Andric added 16, Marin Rozic had 11 while Bojan Bogdanovic got 10 for Cibona. Tarence Kinsey led FB Ulker with 21 points. Emir Preldzic added 18, Gordan Giricek had 15 while Semih Erden got 13 for the guests. Erden and Kinsey led Fenerbahce to get a 12-20 lead after 10 minutes. Preldzic shined in a 0-10 run that gave the guests their biggest lead, 12-30. Rozic stepped up for Cibona and got some help from Tomas to bring Cibona back to life, 32-36, at halftime. An unstoppable Kinsey boosted FB Ulker's lead to 40-52 but Tomas had 8 points in a 12-0 run that he capped with a driving layup to give Cibona a 60-58 edge early in the fourth quarter. Andric had 12 points in the fourth quarter to give Cibona a 76-72 lead. Kinsey got Fener within 76-75 with 24.8 seconds left but Tomas hit 4-of-4 free throws in crunch time to win it for Cibona, as Giricek missed from downtown at the buzzer.
FB Ulker coach Bogdan Tanjevic opted to use Serhat Cetin in its starting lineup along with veteran playmaker Damir Mrsic, as well as trying to get
strong inside with Rasim Basak at power forward. As in previous games, Cibona used Andric and Vedran Vukusic inside to open the court for Jamont Gordon and Tomas. Erden got Fener going with a layup but Tomas answered from downtown for a 3-2 Cibona lead. Erden kept pacing Fenerbahce with a dunk that Vukusic answered from downtown to keep the hosts ahead, 6-4. Cetin sank free throws and soon added a baseline jumper, as FB Ulker did not allow open shots now. Tomas and Kinsey traded layups in transition while a red hot Cetin struck from downtown to give Fener a 8-13 margin. Andric rescued Cibona with a put-back layup that Erden erased with a big basket in the low post. Kinsey buried a stop-and-pop jumper and added a layup off a midcourt steal. A floating layup by Vedran Princ fixed the score at 12-20 after 10 minutes.
Preldzic dunked it in penetration early in the second quarter, as Cibona kept struggling to find the way to the basket. Fenerbahce kept locking the defensive board and finding easy points in transition. Giricek hit free throws that Kinsey followed with a floating shot to make it a 14-point game, 12-26. Preldzic dunked it off a steal and soon added a reverse layup off a Cibona timeout to break the game open, 12-30, after a 0-10 run. Cibona had been scoreless for more than 5 minutes already, missing 8 consecutive shots until Leon Radosevic sank free throws. The hosts improved their defense and Andric scored down low for a 16-30 deficit. Tomas downed a three-pointer and Rozic added a wild driving layup to give the hosts some hope, 21-31, after a 9-1 run. Fener tried to open the court for Erden to play one-on-one inside. He hit free throws but Rozic scored twice in a 6-0 run that got the hosts as close as 27-33. Rozic added another layup in transition but Preldzic scored off a steal. A wild off-balance triple by Tomas made it a four-point game, 32-36, at halftime.
Kinsey buried a jumper off the dribble immediately after the break, as Fenerbahce kept using Preldzic as point forward. Kinsey beat the shot clock with a big three-pointer, good for a 32-41 FB Ulker lead. Bogdanovic and Preldzic joined the three-point shootout and free throws by Giricek kept the guests way ahead, 35-46. Tomas struck from downtown but Preldzic found Erden for an easy dunk. Princ took over with an acrobatic layup but Cibona only managed to trade baskets now. Erden scored again and Kinsey added a driving layup to make Cibona call a much-needed timeout at 40-52. Rozic tried to change things with a three-point play and Bogdanovic buried a catch-and-shoot triple to bring the hosts back to life, 46-52. Giricek and Preldzic beat the hosts' 2-3 zone defense with a bomb from downtown but Princ scored in penetration and Radosevic dunked it twice for a 52-58 deficit. Fener could not get Erden involved now and Tomas set the crowd on fire with back-to-back three-pointers that tied the game, 58-58, after 30 minutes.
A driving layup by an unstoppable Tomas completed the hosts' comeback, 60-58, early in the fourth quarter. Fenerbahce struggled to score for more than 2 minutes until Kinsey rescued his team with a three-point play. Fener tried to open the court with four good shooters and Oguz Savas in the low post. Savas scored down low but Andric followed a layup with a baseline jumper for a 65-63 Cibona edge with less than 7 minutes left. Giricek made foul shots and Preldzic added a corner triple to put Fener back ahead, 65-68. A red hot Andric answered from downtown and added an uncontested layup to make the guests stop the game at 70-68. Bogdanovic took over with a fast break layup that Giricek erased with a quick basket in transition. Tomas made free throws that Giricek erased with a driving layup for a 74-72 Fener deficit with 2:30 left. Andric shined with a power layup that Kinsey matched with a baseline jumper. Princ and Rozic missed from downtown but Kinsey made 1-of-2 foul shots with 24.8 seconds to go. Tomas and Giricek traded free throws for a 78-77 score. FB Ulker sent Tomas back to the foul line with 9.8 seconds left and he hit both attempts. Giricek missed a step-back three-point shot at the buzzer, allowing Cibona to celebrate a key home win.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009