|Unstoppable Bilan lifts Cedevita over Limoges
Cedevita Zagreb used a great shooting performance and a dominant center to beat Limoges CSP 102-83 in the Croatian capital on Friday, keeping alive its hopes of advancing to the Top 16. With career nights from both Miro Bilan, who dominated inside, and Fran Pilepic who hit 5 three-pointers, Cedevita improved to 2-5 in Group B and moved in front of Limoges, which lost its fifth game in a row to fall to 1-6. Cedevita also overcame an 11-point loss from Round 2, thanks in great part to its 31 assists, as well as 65% two-point shooting and 56% behind the arc. Limoges had 15 triples for the night, 8 of them in the first half. But Cedevita buried as many three-pointers in the first two quarters, and took better care of the ball to build a 52-43 halftime lead. After the break Limoges did briefly come within 6 points, but Pilepic and Bilan quickly restored a double-digit margin, then a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter broke the game open. Bilan finished with a career-high 24 points along with 8 rebounds in victory, while Pilepic netted career-high 21 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting. Nemanja Gordic contributed 11 points and 7 assists, while Karlo Zganec had career-highs of 9 points and 10 rebounds. For Limoges, Nobel Boungou-Colo scored 18 points, and Ramel Curry scored 15 on 4 of 5 from three-point range. Jamar Smith had 14, and Leo Westermann 11 points with 4 assists and 6 steals in the losing effort.
First quarter: Cedevita misses only 1 shot, takes control
Pilepic got things going with a jumper on the opening possession, and after Curry punished one of Cedevita's turnovers with a triple, a tough shot by Ivan Ramljak gave the hosts a 4-3 lead. Ukic scored a fastbreak layup, and after Nobl Boungou-Colo sank a three-pointer for Limoges, Pilepic knocked down back-to-back shots from downtown, 12-6. The visitors answered with another triple, this time from Jamar Smith, but Ukic and Pilepic converted a pair of fastbreaks for Cedevita to make it 16-9. However, Smith nailed another three, and Boungou-Colo muscled his way for a layup, made couple of foul shots, and then dunked on a breakaway to tie things at 18-18. Bilan and Andrien Moerman traded baskets from close range, before Gordic buried a three against Limoges’s zone defense to go up 23-20. Bilan scored a layup-plus-foul, and after Boungou-Colo buried a tough long jumper, Tomislav Zubcic and Luka Babic hit back-to-back threes. It was Cedevita's fifth three-pointer in six attempts, enough for a 32-24 lead.
Second quarter: Three-pointers keep on coming
The hosts forced 3 turnovers to start the quarter, and with a layup from Bilan and a corner triple from Ante Delas increased the margin to 37-24. Ousmane Camara drove for a layup, to end the visitors’ drought, but two more Limoges turnovers led to a fastbreak layup from Babic and another three from Ante Delas. Marko Arapovic made a turnaround jumper to extend the lead to 44-26, but Limoges countered with a jumper from Westermann and a triple from James Southerland. After Arapovic scored from close range, Westermann answered with another one from long range to make it 46-34. Curry’s triple – the seventh shot from downtown by Limoges – cut the margin below 10 points. Ramljak answered from downtown, and Moerman made a pair of free throws for Limoges to make it 49-39. In the final 10 seconds of the half, Delas finished Cedevita’s fast break with a one-handed slam, but Curry nailed a buzzer beating triple on the other end, cutting it to 52-43 at halftime.
Third quarter: Pilepic and Bilan keep Cedevita on top
Smith opened the second half with a three-pointer that cut the deficit to 6 points, but Mario Delas answered with a long jumper and Ramljak went coast-to-coast for a fastbreak layup. Bilan made a put-back, before Pilepic and Smith traded three-pointers to make it 61-49. Then Pilepic traded threes with Boungou-Colo. Limoges closed the deficit with Smith and Westermann each scoring on a fast break, with latter being a basket-plus-foul to get within 64-57. Bilan muscled his way for a tough layup in the crowd, then fed Pilepic for another three to put the hosts up 12. J.P. Batista sank a jumper, but Arapovic made a dunk after a sweet dish by Babic. After Camara and Bilan traded layups, Curry drove to the hoop. Karlo Zganec foul shots gave the hosts a 77-65 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter: Gordic and Bilan close it out
Moerman banked in a basket-plus-foul, but Gordic hit from downtown on the ensuing trip down the floor, and Bilan scored once again from close range to make it 82-68. Zganec continued the run with free throws. Gordic buried another three and threw an alley-oop pass to Bilan for a layup and a 21-point lead. Westerman snapped a 12-0 run with a corner triple, but Gordic found Bilan with a behind-the-back pass for a monster dunk, then sank a tough jumper to make it 93-72. With Cedevita clearly on the way to its second win, there was a matter of a tie-break advantage to be settled. Southerland buried a three-pointer, but that was the only basket the visitors managed in three minutes. Zganec hit a baseline jumper , and after a three-pointer from Curry, Bilan scored a layup, then found Babic with a no-look pass as Cedevita reached the century mark and its biggest lead, 100-78. Moerman scored for Limoges, but Bilan had another great assist, this time for Zganec, before Southerland ended the game with a triple.
Friday, November 28, 2014