In a Group A showdown with a coveted first victory at stake for both teams, RheinEnergie Cologne found its first Euroleague win ever in an historic arena, blasting host Climamio 86-90 on Thursday in Bologna, Italy. Cologne raised its record to1-3 record while Fortitudo fell 0-4. Ronnie Burrell was the man of the night as he scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the winners. Marcus Faison added 15 points, while Macin Gortat hit 12, Demond Mallett and Aleksandar Nadjfeji 11 each. Climamio had a big effort by David Bluthenthal, who ended with 29 points, while Robert Fultz added 15 and James Thomas 10. The key of the game came in the third quarter when Cologne posted a 18-0 run which made a quick memory of Climamio's only lead of the second half.
Preston Shumpert got Climamio going with a jumper that Marcin Gortat quickly matched with a back-to-the-basket move. Immanuel McElroy scored a put-back to give Cologne the lead, 2-4, and after a Shumpert triple, his fastbreak put the Germans ahead again, 5-6. A free throw and a tremendous block by Burrell showed Cologne had the momentum as Marcus Faison's transition triple gave the guests a 5-10 lead midway through the quarter. After a Climamio timeout, James Thomas and David Bluthenthal brought Climamio to within 9-10, but Nadjfeji scored 5 points in a row to raise Cologne's margin to 12-16. Thomas answered with a free throw and Bluthenthal a three-pointer on the buzzer to tie the score at 16-16 after 10 minutes.
Bluthenthal restarted the second quarter where he left off the first, scoring another jumper while Belinelli dunked on a fastbreak to send the hosts ahead 20-16. Cologne immediately reacted as a Mladjen Sljvancanin's triple opened a 0-7 run that Nadjfeji and Burrell capped with layups, 20-23. Cavaliero tied the game with a triple but Nadjfeji found another baseline bucket to put the guests up 23-26. Even after a Climamio timeout, Cologne kept going to the baseline, where Burrell cashed in on a pair of foul shots before adding a basket to make it 25-30. Bluthenthal answered with a corner triple but Climamio's trouble continued on defense as McElroy and Burrell went inside again for a 30-35 score. Robert Fultz helped Climamio with 5 straight points to tie 35-35 but Burrell ended his great half with a drive to give Cologne a 35-37 advantage after 20 minutes.
Mallet fed Gortat and then scored a three-pointer to give keep Cologne moving forward, 37-42 after halftime. Bluthenthal spurred a Climamio takeover with a three-pointer and a put-back while Thomas hit from inside to give the hosts a new lead at 44-42 after a 7-0 run. RheinEnergie, however, paid Climamio back with the same coin and more. Gortat scored twice and Mallet nailed a big three-pointer to open the run by retaking the scoreboard at 44-49. A Climamio timeout didn't stop the visitors. Nadjfeji drove easily to the basket and Faison hit a triple to make it 44-54. The Bologna fans were not happy, but Cologne was on fire now as Burrel scored with a free throw added and Faison struck from long distance to enlarge the run to 18-0 and the lead to 44-60. Shumpert broke Climamio's shocking drought but Sljivancanin and Alvin Jones added 5 more points for a maximum lead of 46-65. Cavaliero limited the damage with 4 points, but Cologne still was ruling by 50-65 after 30 minutes.
Thomas and Fultz scored 5 points to open the fourth quarter and reduce the gap to 55-65. Gortat hit from outside while Thomas and Fultz scored again, bringing Climamio within 8 points, 59-67, with 8 minutes to play. Burrell and Bluthenthal traded baskets before Faison scored over Belinelli and Burrell dunked on fastbreak to maintain that margin, 61-73. Bluthenthal hit another fallaway jumper and Fultz landed a three-pointer as the lead was trimmed to 66-73. Sljivancanin also scored from the arc, however, to reestablish a 10-point advantage, 66-76. Bluthethal kept scoring from the middle range and Fultz made another big play running a fastbreak, scoring and drawing a foul making it 70-76. But Cologne didn't lose patience as Burrell and Mallet posted a 1-6 run in response, making it 71-82 with 2 minutes to play. Bluthenthal, Hamann and Belinelli landed three-pointers but they were too late as Cologne flew off with its first Euroleague win ever.
Thursday, November 16, 2006