Lottomatica Roma celebrated its first victory over the Top 16 by knocking off Partizan 88-72 in its final Group G contest. Roma used a 16-2 run spanning the first and second quarters to take control of the game and never let Partizan back into the game. The hosts finished the Group G campaign with a 1-5 record while Partizan ended at 4-2. The guests knew they were already qualified for the Quarterfinal Playoffs coming into match, but take second place in the group and will face off with reigning champion CSKA Moscow in the quarters. Andre Hutson led Lottomatica with 23 points while Ruben Douglas poured in 18 points. Ibrahim Jaaber chipped in 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals off the bench and Luigi Datome scored 12 points. In addition, Brandon Jennings added 5 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds for Roma. The leading scorer for Partizan was Stephane Lasme with 17 points to go along with 8 rebounds. Novica Velickovic added 14 points and Uros Tripkovic hit for 12 points. Partizan was unable to take advantage of a 29-39 rebounding advantage, mainly because it shot just 4 of 18 (22%) from long range and 28 of 41 (68%) from the foul line.
Hutson started the scoring with an inside basket. Velickovic knocked down a triple and was followed by two Aleksandar Rasic foul shots and a Jan Vesely layup for a 2-7 lead. Jennings hit a driving layup on Roma's end and Jaaber's score off the glass cut the deficit to 6-9. But the gap grew to 6 points on Slavko Vranes's basket and Rasic's free throw after a technical foul on Roma coach Nando Gentile. Hutson answered with a dunk and free throw and Jaaber's offensive rebound and put-back had Roma within 11-14. The guests pulled back ahead by 6 on Tripkovic's triple from the right wing. But Roberto Gabini came right back down with a three-ball from the top of the key and Hutson jumpers from the right baseline and just inside the stripe knotted the game at 18-18. Tripkovic was fouled shooting a triple and made 2 free throws only to see Douglas get an offensive rebound put-back and 2 foul shots by Datome had the hosts up 22-20. Lasme would knock down a long two-pointer to even the game again, but Douglas hit a triple just before the end of the quarter for a 26-23 Roma lead after one period.
Jaaber came out in the second quarter and nailed a three-ball for a 29-23 advantage. Velickovic worked himself some space for an inside basket for Partizan. But another Douglas long ball made it 32-25. Both sides struggled for a couple of minutes offensively and a long rebound off a Partizan shot ended in a Jacopo Giachetti fast break layup and a 34-25 Roma advantage. Partizan called a timeout to talk it over. But things did not click and Jaaber's fast break layup pushed the lead into double digits at 36-25. A Douglas block then was converted for Roma with a Hutson layup and the cushion was 38-25. Velickovic's inside layup snapped the 16-2 Roma run. And Partizan began working harder over the rest of quarter to get to the foul line and 5 free throws cut the margin to 40-32. Roma boss Gentile called a timeout to stop the Partizan push and Hutson came out with a jumper from the left baseline to reestablish a 10-point game. Datome then nailed a triple from the left wing to make it 45-32. Cedomir Vitkovac made 2 free throws, but was answered by Hutson's jumper from the right side. And then Partizan coach Dusko Vujosevic was hit with a technical foul and Datome's 2 free throws made it 49-34 at the intermission.
Jaaber's reverse layup started the second half as the lead grew to 17 points. Lasme got Partizan on the board with a tip-in. But Milenko Tepic was called for an unsportsmanlike foul and Douglas made 2 free throws. Alessandro Tonolli made it 54-36 with a foul shot of his own. Velickovic tried to keep Partizan in the game with an inside basket. But Tonolli nailed a triple to push the lead to 19. Zarko Rakovic put back an offensive rebound and Tripkovic hit two foul shots to bring the guests within 58-42. Jaaber however answered with a reverse layup and the extra foul shot for a 19-point margin again. And then Datome drained a triple from the right corner as Roma led 65-43. It was 67-45 after Gabini's 2 free throws, but Partizan scored the final 7 points of the quarter on a Lasme dunk and a three-pointer and 2 free throws by Tripkovic to get within 67-52 after three periods.
Hutson's layup started the final quarter and Jaaber's free throw had the Romans ahead 70-52. Petar Bozic made it a 15-point game with a three-pointer only to watch Jennings find Hutson for an easy basket. Hutson then dunked an offensive rebound and Jaaber hit a fast break layup as Lottomatica went up 76-57. Tempers began to flair a bit as Jaaber was hit with an unsportsmanlike foul on Lasme, who made 1 free throw. Lasme's dunk then trimmed the margin to 76-60 with five minutes to play. But Douglas hit a nice layin off the glass and followed it with a three-pointer for an 81-62 advantage. Partizan would pull within 16 points but Roma scored 7 straight points and Jennings' triple gave Roma its biggest lead of the night at 23 points, 88-65, before Partizan finished off the scoring.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009