Montepaschi Siena showed it can contend in Group A by earning a 59-84 win over Prokom Trefl Sopot at the Olivia Sports Hall on Wednesday night. It took the Italian champs only a few minutes to settle down, using a 2-13 run to finish the first period and never looking back. The lead reached 21-43 by halftime, grew to 41-66 after three periods and peaked at 50-78 in the fourth. The win was Montepaschi's first road victory of the season, improved its record to 4-2 and will move the team into a share of second place in Group A after the game between Tau Ceramica and CSKA Moscow on Thursday. Rimantas Kaukenas had another solid evening with 14 points, while Ksistof Lavrinovic dominated inside with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Vlado Ilievski added 13, Terrell McIntyre had 12 and Ben Eze 10 for the winning side. Prokom remained winless at home and dropped to 1-5 this season. The Polish champs visit Union Olimpija next week feeling the mounting pressure to win or see the team's hopes of a spot in the Top 16 completely disappear. The team's lone bright spots were the play of reserve center Jovo Stanojevic, who for long stretches was Prokom's lone offensive threat and finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds, and forward Thomas Masiulis, who never quit and posted 16 points and 7 boards.
Both teams came up short on their opening possessions before Milan Gurovic corrected a Christos Harissis miss for the game's first points. Shaun Stonerook got Montepaschi on the board with a three-pointer. The visitors continued to attack from outside with Kaukenas and Romain Sato adding points and when McIntyre stripped Tomas Van den Spiegel of the ball, the Prokom center grabbed him and received and unsportsmanlike foul. Still Masiulis and Donatas Slanina with a jump shot-plus foul put Prokom ahead 10-9. Eze scored on the offensive glass and Sato added a basket as the hosts called a timeout. But it did not help and Kaukenas's pull-up jumper made it 10-15. Montepaschi dominated the flow of play, but did not convert that into a significant advantage. Van den Spiegel made a pair of free throws, but then McIntyre went coast-to-coast for an acrobatic layup-plus-foul. He followed that with a fast-break basket and then Eze added 2 free throws as part of 2-13 run that sealed the first period with Montepaschi up 12-22.
Stanojevic, who had a short jumper waived off after the first-quarter buzzer, started the second period with another basket from close range, but it would not be enough to spark the Prokom offense. Stonerook, Ilievski, Marco Carrretto and Lavrinovic all scored as Montepaschi started to dominate. Siena kept Prokom scoreless for over three-and-a-half minutes during which it reeled off 10 unanswered points before Krzysztof Roszyk beat the three-point buzzer with a triple. However that had no affect on the momentum as Bootsy Thornton answered in stylen. The Stanojevic went inside for a bucket, however the visitors continued their domination as Ilievski and Tomas Ress free throws increased the lead to 19. Then Ilievski buried a deep three to cap a 5-19 surge and give Montepaschi a 21-43 halftime advantage.
Montepaschi came out the way it left off, with Kaukenas driving for a layup and Eze coming up with a steal and slam. Stanojevic scored inside and Harissis drilled a triple as Prokom showed signs of life. However McIntyre fed Sato in transition and despite a Stanojevic hook, Montepaschi only increased its lead. Lavrinovic made it 30-55 and although Prokom was starting to find points, the visitors seemed to have an answer for every basket and Prokom couldn't get any closer. The lead reached 26 on a McIntyre triple before Mustafa Shakur's free throw made it 41-66 at the end of the third period.
Lavrinovic padded the lead with a layup to start the fourth quarter. Masiulis scored 5 straight points, however Prokom still couldn't break the 20-point barrier. The hosts looked ready to throw in the white flag as it became clear that the final period was for protocol only. Nevertheless the visitors continued to amass points. The lead reached its peak at 28 before Shakur drilled a three and later Slanina made a layup to wrap up a demoralizing night for the home town fans.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007