Stipcevic leads Rome to the first place in Group I
Virtus Rome remained perfect on home floor and claimed the first place in Group I by topping CAI Zaragoza 87-66 on Wednesday. Rome improved to 4-2 record, but needed help to reach the first place, and it got just that when Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd registered a road win over Cedevita Zagreb. Rome will face Banvit Bandirma in the eighthfinals, while CAI ends its Eurocup campaign with 1-5 record in the Last 32. The hosts took the lead for good with a 13-2 run in the first quarter, but did not pull away until Rok Stipcevic fueled a 13-2 run at the end of the third for 68-50 lead, paving the way to victory. Stipcevic led in victory with 20 points and 5 assists, Kyle Gibons netted 17 on 5 of 6 three-point shooting. Melvin Ejim scored 12, while Bobby Jones and Jordan Morgan each scored 10 for Rome. Stevan Jelovac had 16 points for CAI, Henk Norel scored 12, and Chris Goulding added 11.
CAI opened the game with three-pointers from Pedro Llompart and Pere Tomas, before Norel strung together six points for 10-14 lead. Rome got triples from Ejim and Stipcevic in that span, before Gibson had a three-pointer and a jumper, Lorenzo D’Ericole had a triple and a steal that led to a Jones fastbreak dunk and 23-16 Rome lead late in the first. Ndudi Ebi extended it to 29-21 early in the second, and Stipevic scored three free throws and a three-pointer for 35-26. Margin reached double digits, but Sergi Garcia and Goulding nailed shots from long range on the other end, and Tomas cut it to 41-36 at halftime.
Back-to-back threes from Maxime De Zeeuw and Ejim helped margin reach 53-41, but Goulding and Jelovac kept CAI in it, making baskets for 55-48. However, Stipcevic and Ejim fueled a 13-2 run to finish the quarter, with Stipcevic scoring 7 points, including a three-pointer for 68-50 after 30 minutes. Couple threes from Jones at the start of the fourth made it 74-53, and Rome was cruising to victory the rest of the way. Three consecutive triples from Gibson extended the margin to 87-62 in the final minutes, before Jelovac and Norel rounded out the scoring.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015