Another fourth-quarter rally pushed Climamio to the top of the Group F standings with an exciting 86-79 victory over Tau Ceramica on Wednesday night in Bologna, Italy. Gianluca Basile was the savior this time for Climamio, drilling 4 of his 6 three-pointers in the final quarter, which the hosts entered 6 points behind on the scoreboard. The victory lifted Climamio into first place at 3-1 while it waits to see if Panathinaikos can tie with its home game against Zalgiris on Thursday. Tau will be awaiting that result, too, as its record dropped to 2-2. Basile finished with 26 points, including 14 in the final quarter, to lead the Climamio scorers. The winners also got 15 points from Milos Vujanic, including a pair of key baskets in the last period, and 13 points from Dalibor Bagaric. Tau Ceramica found 27 points, but none in the last quarter, from Arvydas Macijauskas, while Kornel David added 24 points and Travis Hansen 11 for the guests.
Bagaric opened the scoring with a basket inside and soon added a dunk-plus-free throw on a nice pass by Lorbek to put Climamio up5-4, Travis Hansen found the first triple of the night for the visitors, and despite Climamio's 4 offensive boards in as many minutes, Tau surged ahead by 7-12 midway through the quarter on another three-pointer, by Macijauskas. Gianluca Basile quickly responded from the arc and inspired a 7-0 run for the hosts, who took the lead at 14-12 after 7 minutes. Matjaz Smodis returned for his first Euroleague action in three games but missed his first triple attempt, while on the other end Macijauskas penetrated for a new Tau lead, 14-16. Bagaric was inspired, however, as he tied the game with a hook and got a standing ovation from the Bologna crowd when he went on bench. Scola and David took advantage of Bagaric's absence by pounding inside for baskets before Macijauskas landed a jumper that put Tau in front 18-22 after 10 minutes.
Ruben Douglas opened the second quarter with a fastbreak layup, but Tau went up by 6 when Macijauskas posted a four-point triple-plus-free throw. The Tau sharpshooter showed all his skills now as he stole and scored alone to push the lead to 22-31 and his point total to 16 already. Marco Belinelli came off the bench and assisted Lorbek to break Tau's run before Milos Vujanic, with his first three-pointer, cut the lead to 29-34. Tiago Splitter and Bagaric then exchanged three-point plays, and Tau kept its confidence until Basile scored an amazing triple to fix a 34-39 scoreboard. Climamio tried fullcourt pressure with a four-guard lineup and Smodis at center. It worked well enough to bring the hosts within 39-40 after a fastbreak by Stefano Mancinelli. Before the half could finish, however, Kornel David hit free throws that allowed Tau to retain a 40-42 lead going to the lockers.
Tau started finding plenty of offensive rebounds after the break, but couldn't turn them into a good advantage because of missed free throws. Tau was just 9-for-22 from the line in minute 22. Although Climamio played well with Mancinelli as power forward again, its young star struggled to handle David. Mancinelli from three-point distance and Basile from closer tied the game at 45-45, but it didn't last long as Macijauskas buried a triple in transition and another three-pointer behind it to retake a 50-56 advantage for Tau midway through the quarter. Vujanic resurfaced with a three-pointer, too, but Macijauskas was unstoppable. His third consecutive shot from the arc and a jump shot by David pulled Tau ahead by 8 points, 53-61. David would score again from mid-range, but Bagaric dunked to keep Climamio within 59-65 after 30 minutes.
As it has many other nights, Climamio chose the fourth quarter to take over this game. Belinelli and Vujanic started it off by cutting the difference to a single point, 64-65, in the first minute of the quarter. After Scola and David scored, Basile nailed his third triple but missed another that would have seized the lead. It didn't matter, because Erazem Lorbek tied with a shot from 5 meters, 69-69. Climamio switched to zone and found enough defensive stops to let Vujanic post a four-point lead, 73-69. Tau's offense went out of order despite offensive boards and Climamio erupted with an amazing three-pointer by Basile to cap a 9-0 run with a 76-69 lead. David broke the dry spell for Tau and Hansen scored from downtown to make it 76-74 and set up an exciting finish. Basile and David exchanged difficult baskets, but Climamio's captain came back with an amazing triple to help his team seize a five-point advantage, 81-76, with 2 minutes to go. Macijauskas and Scola missed shots before Smodis punished Tau with hook, and even when Hansen shot from downtown, it was cancelled by Basile's sixth triple - fourth of the final quarter - as the victory once again belonged to Climamio in Bologna.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005