Cedevita finishes campaign with victory in Berlin
Previouslyeliminated Cedevita Zagreb rallied from 13 points down to stun ALBA Berlin 67-70 at Max Schmeling Halle in the German capital on Friday night. Cedevita finished its Turkish Airlines Euroleague campaign with a 3-7 record and will continue its season in the Eurocup, while Top 16-bound ALBA dropped to 4-6 and fourth place in Group B. Miro Bilan had 12 points and Luka Babic scored some key baskets and finished with 10 in victory. ALBA led for majority of the night, and had a 13-point margin several times in the third quarter, but Cedevita put together a 2-18 run that bridged third and fourth quarters to grab its first lead, 53-56. After the hosts regained the lead, Cedevita was quick enough to respond with a 2-10 spurt and get a victory that denied ALBA third place in the group. Tomislav Zubcic finished with 8 points plus 7 rebounds in victory, while Jamel McLean led the hosts with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Alex Renfroe had 13 points and 7 assists, while Niels Giffey netted 11 in the losing effort.
First quarter: ALBA goes in front behind McLean
McLean opened the game with a fast break dunk and a baseline jumper. After a triple from Cedevita's Fran Pilepic made it 4-3, McLean continued to drive ALBA with a dunk and an assist for Giffey layup. Bilan opened his account from close range, but a basket-plus-free throw from Leon Radosevic made it 11-5. Babic went coast-to-coast for a layup, and Bilan scored from close range twice more, but Cliff Hammonds sank a triple in between Bilan's baskets. Baskets were few and far between in the last three minutes of the quarter, with McLean adding to his tally with a pair of free throws, while Nemanja Gordic drove for a layup, making it 17-13 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Defenses take center stage in Berlin
Giffey hit a three-pointer to open the quarter, and after foul shots from Gordic on one, and Marko Banic on the other end, Radosevic elevated for a layup that gave the Berliners a 24-15 lead. Tomislav Zubcic cut the deficit with a corner three-pointer, but Banic and McLean scored layups, the latter coming with an additional free throw, for the first double-digit margin of the night, 29-19. Not many shots were falling on either end as Zubcic and Mario Delas made free throws for Cedevita, which did not allow a single point for more than four minutes, but did not score a field goal for six minutes, either. ALBA ended its drought in the final minute of the half with McLean driving to the basket, helping his team to a 32-23 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Hosts extend lead with 5 triples
Giffey nailed a three-pointer to open the second half and he split free throws to make it 36-23. Cedevita continued having trouble making shots, but Lovro Mazalin was perfect from the foul line in 4 tries. After Alex Renfroe hit a triple for the hosts, Mazalin answered with a jumper. Bilan fought for a put-back. A three-pointer from Roko Ukic capped a 3-11 run, cutting the deficit to 39-34, but ALBA made a quick response. After a timeout, Akeem Vargas sank a pair of wide-open threes, and Renfroe added another of his own, extending it to 48-36 and forcing the visiting coach Jasmin Repesa to call a timeout. It worked, as Cedevita stepped it up on defense again, while Mario Delas made a jumper, and Babic sank a second-chance triple to cut the margin to 51-43.
Fourth quarter: Cedevita first rallies, then finishes off the hosts
Ivan Ramljak knocked down a corner triple to open the fourth quarter, and Giffey answered with a jumper. Cedevita continued its run, with Mario Deals hitting a long jumper and Babic finished a one-on-three fast break with a layup to make it 53-50. Bilan tied it with a basket-plus-foul, and Babic sank a three-pointer for the visitors’ first lead, 53-56. McLean snapped a 2-13 run with a layup-plus-foul, and Hammonds raced for an easy fast break dunk for the hosts to regain the lead. Hammonds also scored from close range, and Renfore made a jumper with his feet on the three-point arc to make it 62-58, but Ukic made a floater to spark another run by the visitors. Ukic made a steal for a breakaway that Zganec finished with a put-back, and Ukic hit a long jumper to make it 62-65. Hammonds and Gordic each made a pair of free throws, 64-67, with 47 seconds left. Cedevita made another defensive stand, and Zubcic extended the lead to 4 with split free throws, but Renfroe hit a three-pointer with 7.8 seconds to give the hosts hope, 67-68. Pilepic made both free throws to put Cedevita up by 3 again, and the hosts had 6.2 seconds for their final possession. Giffey got to the foul line, but missed both free throws – the second one on purpose – and Cedevita celebrated its second road win of the season.