Tau Ceramica gave a basketball clinic on the road Wednesday by rolling to a 70-102 blowout victory over RheinEnergie Cologne in Group A. Tau raised its record to 2-1 in the group while RheinEnergie is still searching for its first Euroleague victory. There was little doubt about the outcome after Luis Scola pushed the hosts ahead by 10 after one quarter and his teammates just kept adding to the lead. Scola led five Tau scorers in double digits with 21 points on 10-for-12 two-point shooting. Zoran Planinic added 18 and 6 assists, while Mirza Teletovic had 12 points, Igor Rakocevic 11 and Serkan Erdogan 10. Tau's pressure defense forced 23 turnovers from RheinEnergie and allowed only one home team player, Marcus Faison with 22 points, to reach double figures.
Tau took an early lead, with most of the points coming from the free-throw line. A Erdogan triple gave the visitors a 2-8 lead. But Cologne fought back with two free throws by Burrell and jump shots from Marcin Gortat and Demond Mallet. Ronnie Burrell missed twice inside for RheinEnergie, but got the ball back a third time to tie the score at 10-10. The teams began to trade baskets, as Gortat dunked following Planinic free throws, and Faison followed a Fred House three with a strong drive to the hoop for 2 points. Planinic made it 16-17 as the quarter drew to a close, and that's when Scola stepped up. The star forward scored 6 straight points, which were followed by a Teletovic three, while Cologne turned the ball over time and time again against Tau's full court pressure. After Faison fumbled a defensive rebound, Scola hit a layup to close out the quarter with Tau leading 18-28.
RheinEnergie opened the second quarter determined to go inside, as Aleksandar Nadjfeji and Alvin Jones provided the scoring. Jones scored dunked twice and Nadjfeji hit a floater and a hook, but Tau kept Cologne at bay with a three from Diego Fajardo and a nifty layup by Planinic. Tau's pressure defense continued to produce RheinEnergie turnovers, and on offense the visitors seemed to score at will. Erdogan hit a running layup, Pablo Prigioni stole the ball for an easy two and Planinic and Teletovic followed with three-pointers. Kaya Peker hit a hook shot and a free throw to make it 29-48. Another three by Teletovic and layups by Peker and Erdogan brought the Tau run to 20 unanswered points and ended the half at 29-55 for the visitors.
The third quarter saw RheinEnergie try to crawl back into the game. A few layups inside got RheinEnergie within 18 points, but Rakocevic drilled three straight three-pointers to squash the hosts' hopes. When Nadjfeji scored to get his team back within20 (49-68), Scola answered by scoring three times with an array of post moves to give Tau a 23-point edge after 30 minutes.
Tau started the final quarter with three-pointers by Erdogan and Rakocevic and a layup by Prigioni, finally putting the game out of reach. RheinEnergie never came closer than 26 points the rest of the way, as coach Sashs Obradovic gave his regulars a breather for much of the fourth quarter. After Planinic hit a jumper and Jesus Cilla hit a free throw, Gortat scored on a putback for RheinEnergie to end the game at 70-102.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006