Chorale Roanne finished its return to Euroleague Basketball on a high note by downing Lottomatica Roma 67-74 on Thursday night in the Italian capital. Roanne, which knew last week that it would not advance to the Top 16, still gave a spirited effort, taking the lead in the second period and never letting it go. The French champs improve to 4-10 and finish the regular season in seventh place in Group C. Meanwhile Roma dropped to 6-8, finishes the regular season in sixth place and will be a fourth-level seed at Monday’s Top 16 Draw in Madrid. Roma led early, but a 0-11 charge showed that Roanne meant business. The visitors used a second 0-11 run en route to a 30-35 halftime lead. Roma got within a basket in the third period, but Marc Salyers rallied Roanne to stay ahead. Pape Badiane and Laurent Cazalon combined for the first 7 points of the fourth period to give Roanne a 46-61 lead. However five Romans scored during an 11-0 run that brought the hosts back. But Roma would get no closer and both Adam Hess and Brion Rush took care of business in the final minute to seal a sweet season-ending win for Roanne. Badiane led the winners with a season-high 22 points and 10 rebounds, Hess added 13 points and 9 boards, Salyers had 13 points and 8 rebounds and Rush finished with 10 points. Roko-Leni Ukic paced Roma with 19 points and Erazem Lorbek and Jon Stefansson added 10 points apiece in defeat.
The hosts won the opening tip and set their game plan into motion as Lorbek found Allan Ray for a open three-pointer. Lorbek soon stepped outside for a jumper before Hess’s tip-in got the visitors on the board, but Ukic added a pair of baskets to make it 9-4. Hess stepped up with a triple and then Badiane knotted the game at 9-9 with a pair of free throws and then Marc-Antoine Pellin gave a surging Roanne its first lead. Salyers corrected his own miss to cap a 0-11 charge that made it 9-13. Stefansson sliced through the Roanne defense to tie the game at 13-13. Free throws by Salyers and a basket by David Hawkins ended the period with the score tied 15-15.
Badiane stepped out and hit an open jumper and followed that with a rare three-pointer as Roanne built a 5-point lead. However back-to-back triples by Alessandro Tonolli and Rodrigo De Le Fuente put Roma back on top. Simone Bagnoli scored in the paint, but Badiane free throws kept Roanne close behind. Badiane’s second three-pointer of the game – and the season – plus a Derrick Byars basket on the offensive glass put the visitors ahead 25-29. Mohamed Kone added a basket and Byars scored on the fast break to cap a 0-11 charge that gave Roanne a 25-33 lead. Ukic ended the Roma drought with a triple and added an acrobatic layup to get the hosts within 30-35 by halftime.
Ukic scored again as the third period got underway, but Brion Rush nailed a three-pointer for his for points to keep the visitors going. Lorbek and Stefansson got Roma with a basket only for Byars to answer from downtown, then Salyers did the same and Roanne’s lead was up to 37-44. Ukic fought for an offensive rebound and a basket and De Le Fuente hit a mid-range jumper as Roma closed the gap. Salyers drove past Roberto Gabini for a pretty basket-plus-foul as lead swelled to 6. Pieric Poupet and Cazalon pushed the advantage to 43-52 with free throws and despite a big triple from Ukic, Badiane ended the period with a third-try offensive rebound and basket to make it 46-54 heading into the fourth quarter.
Roanne continued to have the eye of the tiger as Badiane added 2 more points from the line and Cazalon drilled a three. Badiane’s steal and slam made it a 15-point game and took the crowd out of the game. Hawkins answered back with a layup-plus foul and then Lorbek hit from downtown to show some fight from the hosts. Stefansson drew a foul in transition and netted 2 free throws to cut the gap to 54-61. Gabini and Ukic added free throws to cap a 11-0 run, but Rush kept Roanne going with a triple. Lorbek went to the line to again bring the hosts with 4, but baskets by Salyers and Rush made it 59-67. Free throws continued to be Roma’s best way to score and Stefansson and Hawkins did just that, but Hess came through with a pair of baskets to stay ahead, 65-71, with a minute-and-a-half remaining. More Hawkins free throws cut the deficit to 4 again, but Roma would get no closer. Hess same up with a clutch offensive rebound and made 2 free throws with 22.2 seconds remaining that put his team up 6. After a Roma timout, Stefansson and Ukic missed threes and Rush iced the win at the other end for Roanne.
Thursday, January 31, 2008