Montepaschi Siena turned in another spectacular home performance Wednesday to beat Zalgiris Kaunas 89-64.Tomas Ress came off the bench to lead five Montepaschi scorers in double figures with 16 points as the hosts improved to 2-1 before visiting Tau Ceramica next week for a big Group A clash. Zalgiris dropped to 1-2 and next week hosts Union Olimpija. Terrell McIntyre sparked a 16-0 run in the first quarter as the hosts took control and looked to coast to an easy win. Montepaschi led 43-29 at halftime, but Goran Jurak and De Juan Collins helped Zalgiris cut into the deficit early in the third period. The visitors fought their way back to within 55-51 and seemed to have a chance of doing even more damage, but Ramunas Kaukenas took over and Montepaschi started to pull away again. The hosts scored the first four baskets of the fourth quarter to essentially wrap up the game. Ress continued to our it on as the lead grew to 29 points and Siena celebrated the win. McIntyre scored 13 points and dished 5 assists for the Italian champs, Kaukenas added 12 points, Ksistof Lavrinovic and Romain Sato scored 10 each and Shaun Stonerook posted 9 points and 6 steals. Jurak led Zalgiris with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Marko Popovic scored 11. Zalgiris dominted the boards 26-45, but was undone by its 26 turnovers.
Both teams seemed to be feeling each other out in the early going as over a minute went by before Stonerook's three opened the scoring. The Zalgiris attack was working efficiently and baskets by Tomas Maciulis and Marcus Brown helped the visitors to a 3-6 lead. However the hosts adjusted quickly on both ends of the floor and results came quickly. McIntyre got Montepaschi going with a transition basket. Siena's increased defensive intensity led to repeated Zalgiris turnovers, while back-to-back triples from McIntyre and Sato saw the hosts surge forward and when Maciulis committed an intentional foul on Stonerook while going for a rebound, free throws by Stonerook and Lavrinovic capped a 16-0 run that put the Italian champs in control. Jurak ended the Zalgiris drought with a pair of baskets before Lavrinovic made a pair from the line to end the first period with the hosts ahead 21-10.
Despite a few substitutions, Montepaschi's momentum remained intact as Bootsy Thornton and Vlado Ilievski came in and pushed the lead to 27-12. Dainius Salenga answered with a three-pointer and Popovic followed with another a minute later to bring the visitors within 9. Montepaschi head coach Simone Piangiani took a time out to calm his troops and it had an immediate effect as Ress hit a triple from the corner. Popovic hit another pullup triple, but Ress was in rare form, feeding Lavrinovic for a bucket and then throwing down a reverse slam himself to put the hosts up 34-21. Jurak continued to find ways to score and Paulius Jankunas was active on the offensive glass for a basket, but Ilievski heated up for the hosts, who remained comfortably ahead. Sato put Siena up 16 before Collins ended the half with a long jumper at the buzzer, making it 43-29.
Eureljus Zukauskas scored inside for Zalgiris to start the second half and Collins set up Jurak for a layup to make it a 10-point game, but threes from McIntyre and Stonerook kept Zalgiris from taking off. Still Maciulis knocked a pair in from downtown and Jurak fed Collins for an alley-oop to cut the gap to 51-46. Montepaschi went inside to Stonerook who netted a pair of free throws, however young Donatas Motiejunas scored in his first Euroleague appearance to keep the visitors fight going. Siena regained its swagger as Kaukenas scored, but Collins scored a basket-plus-foul, making it a 4-point game and sending McIntyre to the bench with three fouls. Kaukenas and Lavrinovic helped Siena to a 60-53 advantage only to see Motiejunas make himslef felt by drawing a foul and sinking two free throws. Kaukenas remained hot and Collins turned it over, allowing Sato and Kaukenas once more to make it 66-55 after three quarters.
Kaukenas continued to shine with a pump fake and short jumper to start the fourth quarter and Sato followed with a slam in transition to restore a 15-point advantage. After a Zalgiris timeout, Sato and Ress added to the lead, which hit 74-55 before Zukauskas dunked for Zalgiris. The hosts' lead passed the 20-point mark on a Ress triple and continued to grow, peaking at 89-60 on another Ress bomb as the hosts sailed to a big home win.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007