Benetton Treviso put on one of the best defensive displays in the history of the Euroleague on the way to a 64-42 win over Aris Thessaloniki on Thursday night at the Palaverde. Treviso held Aris to the third-fewest points in a Euroleague game, highlighted by a 4-point fourth quarter. Matteo Soragna led Benetton with 19 points, while Terrell Lyday and Nikos Zisis added 10 each. Benetton improved to 3-2 in Group C, joining Pau-Orthez for a share of third place. Those two teams meet next week in France. Aris dropped to 2-3 and holds sole possession of fifth place. Benetton led for most of the game, but Aris always found away to remain close. That ended with the score 36-30 early in the third quarter, as Soragna led a home-team spurt to take the lead to double figures. Then Aris went cold and remained that way until the final buzzer. Jeremiah Massey led Aris with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Alex Scales added 10. The hosts won the battle of the boards 45-32. The record for fewest points allowed in a Euroleague game belongs to CSKA Moscow, which held Krka Novo Mesto to 35 in November 2003. Union Olimpija allowed London Towers 40 in December 2001.
Both teams started off cold as neither side scored in the first two minutes. Mike Wilkinson eventually broke the ice from the line making one of two free throws. Soon after, good ball circulation allowed Marcus Goree to put Treviso on the board. Veteran Giorgos Sigalas regained the lead for Aris off a steal and layup. The visitors' zone defense troubled Treviso as Goree and Soragna were again off target. The name of the game remained defense as three minutes went passed without a basket until Spencer Nelson went to the foul line to bring Benetton within 7-8. Kevin Fletcher and Angelo Gigli traded baskets and Sigalas and Zisis did the same to fix the score at 11-13. After free throws from Gigli and Massey, Lyday scored in penetration and Marco Mordente followed him to regain the lead. But Scales drilled a three that ended the period with Aris up 16-18.
Lyday scored at the start of the second quarter, but Scales was very lively for the visitors, drawing two fouls off Bryant Smith in 30 seconds. However the accuracy on offense was not there for Aris. Soragna capped a 9-0 run with 5 points of his own to give Benetton a 5- point cushion. Lyday went through the traffic for a layup, causing Aris coach Andrea Mazzon to call a desperate timeout as his players could simply not find the way to the basket. Aris had scored only one basket in five-and-a-half minutes. Benetton continued to increase its lead, which swelled to 30-20 with three minutes on the clock. Treviso shut Aris's attack down once more, this time forcing shot-clock violation. Aris finally made a jumper and a free throw, but Soragna took charge netting 6 consecutive points, good for a 36-23 lead. Two free throws from Terrell Castle fixed the halftime score at 36-25, with Aris posting a disastrous 9 turnovers and 2 assists.
Castle opened the second half with a free throw, drawing Lyday’s fourth foul and forcing the Benetton playmaker to the bench. Aris dominated the early going as Massey got 4 points, prompting coach David Blatt to call timeout with the score at 36-30. Soragna picked up where he left off, draining a three. Treviso responded well to the visitors' slow tempo as Soragna netted a spectacular fade-away jumper to increase the cushion to 11. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s first two points were met by a reverse layup from Joey Beard. However Castle stripped Mordente for an easy Massey layup on the counter, reducing the deficit to 43-34. Two free throws from Castle brough Aris even closer. Zisis got his team back on track with a free throw and a mid-range jumper. More free throws from Massey and Smith and a spectacular no-look pass from Smith to Soragna left Aris with a mountain to climb entering the last quarter, 49-38.
Goree got his team going in the fourth with a free throw. A dunk by Massey was met by two free throws from Gigli, as Treviso continued to slow down Aris’s offense with a full-court press. Sloppy plays from both teams saw the score stalled for a while at 52-42 at the halfway mark of the quarter. Mazzon called another timeout after a brilliant left handed layup from Mordente as Aris’s hopes started to fade away. Goree landed the knock-out punch, beating the buzzer for a 14-point cushion with three minutes to go. The hosts kept using the full 24 seconds and strong defense to cruise to a valuable win and keep their 100 percent home record.
Thursday, November 23, 2006