Montepaschi Siena clinched a Quarterfinal Playoff spot by thrashing Cibona 86-70 at home in Group H on Thursday. Montepaschi improved to 3-2 and overcame a seven-point loss in Zagreb to advance to the playoffs as the second-ranked team in Group H, right behind Euroleague reigning champion CSKA Moscow. Meanwhile, Cibona dropped to 2-3 and is mathematically out of the playoff race, as it will finish third in Group H. Terrell McIntyre paced the winners with 29 points on 8-for-9 free throws. Henry Domercant added 14, Rimantas Kaukenas had 10 while Shaun Stonerook pulled down 11 rebounds for Montepaschi. Marin Rozic led Cibona with 13 points. Davor Kus added 12, Alan Anderson and Vedran Vukusic each had 11 while Niksa Prkacin got 10 for Cibona. An outstanding McIntyre had 15 points in the first quarter to make Montepaschi get a 27-18 lead after 10 minutes. He got some help from Kaukenas and Romain Sato to boost the hosts' lead to 46-32 at halftime. Prkacin and Rozic fueled a 0-10 run that broke Cibona back in the game, 57-49, early in the fourth quarter. McIntyre was ice cold from the foul line in the final 2 minutes while a big dunk by Stonerook sent the crowd to their feet to celebrate that Montepaschi will keep fighting for Euroleague glory.
Cibona tried a small opening lineup with Rozic at power forward. Benjamin Eze got Montepaschi going with a jump hook while McIntyre added his trademark triple for a 5-0 lead. Rozic answered from downtown but Domercant soon answered with a fast break layup. Anderson scored in penetration but another three-pointer by McIntyre gave the hosts a 10-5 margin. Kus nailed a running jumper while Earl Calloway added an acrobatic basket to keep Cibona within 10-9. McIntyre rescued Montepaschi with a coast-to-coast layup that Eze followed with a power basket for a 14-9 score. Vukusic struck from downtown but another fast break layup by McIntyre boosted the hosts' lead to 17-12. Vukusic stayed on fire with a second-chance basket that Kaukenas erased with a layup in transition. McIntyre provided a highlight with an incredible driving basket and nailed a triple off a Cibona timeout to make it a double-digit game, 24-14. Prkacin stepped up with a put-back layup that Marco Carrareto bettered with a three-pointer. A layup by Vukusic fixed the score at 27-18 after 10 minutes.
Kaukenas scored in penetration early in the second quarter while Carrareto struck again from downtown to make it a 14-point game, 32-18. Cibona could not find the way to the basket while a layup by Tomas Ress broke the game open, 34-18. Cibona has been scoreless for more than 3 minutes until Anderson took over with a huge dunk. Kaukenas kept pacing Montepaschi with a coast-to-coast layup but Jared Homan scored down low while Vukusic added a driving basket to bring Cibona within 36-24. Montepaschi called timeout and Eze stepped up with a tip-in that Morris Finley followed with a driving layup to keep the hosts out of trouble, 40-24. Rozic nailed a seven-meter bomb but Domercant quickly answered from downtown. Kus scored again, as Montepaschi now struggled to beat Cibona's zone defense without McIntyre on court. Calloway took over with a fast break layup but Sato beat the buzzer with a corner three-pointer that gave Montepaschi some fresh air, 46-32, at halftime.
Cibona tried to play more aggressive after the break, committing too many fouls early in the third quarter. Both teams went scoreless for almost 2 minutes until McIntyre took over with a driving layup. Vukusic sank free throws but Domercant buried back-to-back jumpers for a 52-34 Montepaschi margin. Vukusic nailed a baseline jumper while Kus fired in one from downtown to give Cibona some hope, 52-39. Sato joined the three-point shootout while McIntyre fed Eze for an easy layup that made Cibona call timeout at 57-39. Prkacin tried to ignite the guests' comeback with a close basket, as Cibona improved its defense late in this period. Montepaschi had started to miss shots, especially from downtown. Meanwhile, Rozic shined with a fast break layup to get Cibona as close as 57-43. Vedran Princ also scored in transition, as Montepaschi committed consecutive 24-second violations. A layup by Prkacin brought the guests within 57-47 after 30 minutes.
Anderson capped a 0-10 Cibona run with a put-back layup but Kaukenas stepped up with a baseline jumper for a 59-49 Montepaschi lead. Kus provided a highlight with a wild three-pointer but Finley immediately answered from downtown. Rozic joined the three-point shootout to get Cibona within 62-55. Montepaschi called timeout and Kaukenas took over with a fast break layup. Princ fed Prkacin for an easy basket but McIntyre answered with a driving layup to give the hosts a 66-57 lead with under 6 minutes to go. Montepaschi had improved its defense while Sato - now playing power forward - sealed the outcome with a layup-plus-foul. Montepaschi, however, needed an eight-point win to clinch a playoff spot. Domercant buried a big triple in transition to make Cibona call timeout at 72-57. Anderson silenced silenced the crowd with a three-pointer while Prkacin added a jump hook for a 74-62 score with 3 minutes remaining. Princ shined with a driving layup but free throws by McIntyre kept the hosts way ahead, 78-66. More foul shots by McIntyre and a big dunk by Stonerook allowed all Montepaschi fans to celebrate that their team had clinched a playoff spot!
Thursday, March 5, 2009