Scavolini's thrilling 97-95 home victory over might Maccabi in Group B left two teams getting something they wanted. Scavolini took revenge for its 50-point blowout loss in Tel Aviv earlier this season and moved into a third-place tie at 6-5 with Montepaschi and AEK with three regular season games left. Maccabi, though seeing its record fall to 8-3, nonetheless advanced to the Top 16. Charles Smith was the man of the game with yet another incredible perfomance, leading the winners with 32 points on 7 of 12 three-pointers, 6 assists and 6 steals. Hanno Mottola added 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Marko Milic had 15 points and Tomas Ress gave a decisive spark with 8 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. Sarunas Jasikevicius led Maccabi with 25 points, Anthony Parker added 18, Maceo Baston 17 and Nikola Vujcic 15 for the guests.
Baston stepped on court ready, scoring from inside and blocking Scavolini's fastbreak attempts. But Scavolini soon responded with a flurry of three-pointers as Smith and Mottola poured in one each to grab a 9-8 lead for the home team. Robert Archibald challenged Maccabi's inside defendes and pushed Scavolini's edge to 12-8 midway through the quarter. Burstein broke the hosts' 9-2 run with a triple for Maccabi before Smith got a put-back and an assist to make it a 16-11 scoreboard. Parker and Baston helped Maccabi stay close, and Jasikevicius, after a dunk by Tomas Ress, sank a triple to put Maccabi within 20-18 after 8 minutes. Scavolini's defense then left several open shots that Nikola Vujcic exploited before Parker's amazing three-pointer at the buzzer left Maccabi in front 22-25 after 10 minutes.
Smith started the second quarter with a couple of three-pointers and Scavolini got big momentum when Silvio Gigena brought a four-point blast off the bench that gave the host the first-half's highest lead, 32-25. Parker scored easily hit from outside for Maccabi, but Smith proved unstoppable as he buried 2 more triples and a drove the rim to give himself 19 points already and Scavolini a 40-34 lead. Jasikevicius made a couple of sensational no-look passes to help pull the guests within 40-39 on a two-handed dunk by Baston. Scoonie Penn hit from 5 meters for Scavolini, but Maccabi on a roll with a nice move by Vujcic, Parker at point guard and Jasikevicius free to run over screens. His 2 foul shots push Maccabi ahead 43-45 before Archibald's put-back at the buzzer left a 47-47 halftime tie.
To start the third quarter, the teams answered each other until a shot by Mottola and Smith's sixth three-pointer helped Scavolini escape to 58-51. Mottola immediately punished a Maccabi zone with a strike from the corner and free throws for a double-digit lead, 63-51. It took Jasikevicius to break Maccabi's scoring drought with a triple for 65-54. Milic drove and picked up Baston's fourth foul, not good news for Maccabi, already looking at 4 fouls on Tal Burstein. Now, Jasikevicius was called for a technical foul whose free throws Smith drilled for a maximum lead of 68-54. Baston was fouled on a rebound against the very active Tomas Ress. Parker took over both scoring and assisting to reduce the gap to 71-61. Jasikevicius hit a final triple to reduce the difference to single digits, 75-66, after 30 minutes.
Parker and Smith traded baskets to open the final quarter. Smith then reached 30 points with a shot from the courner, but Vujcic popped a triple to keep Maccabi within 80-73, just before Archibald comitted his fifth foul.Yaniv Green took advantage by scoring inside and stealing to send Derrick Sharp ahead for a transition triple that made it 80-78 with 6 minutes to go. Mottola hit free throws and Ress slammed to reestablish a n 84-78 Scavolini lead, but with 4 minutes left, Vujcic started a 0-7 Maccabi run that Jasikevicius finished with a triple for an 85-85 tie. When Silvio Gigena answerd from downtown for the hosts, Jasikevicius merely did it again, raising an 88-88 tie and lots of emotion with just 2 minutes to play. Smith outdid Parker and hit twice from the line. Milic rebounded and made 2 free throws himself, and when both Vujcic and Sharp. missed triples, Gigena made a single free throw for a 93-88 lead. Parker and Scoonie Penn exchanged baskets, leaving a 95-90 score with 30 seconds on the clock. Vujcic tried to revive Maccabi with a triple with 15 seconds left, but Milic and Penn finished the upset from the foul line, giving Scavolini revenge to go with an all-important Group B victory.
Thursday, January 20, 2005