Nikola Prkacin scored 4of his 8 points in the final minute of overtime to give Cibona a hard-fought 82-79 victory at home over Air Avellino. Cibona blew a 10-point lead in the last five minutes of regulation, but won the game in the extra session. Avellino’s Tamar Slay made 2 foul shots with 30 seconds left to force overtime, but Travis Best could not nail a late triple which could have sent the game to another overtime. Davor Kus scored 23 points for Cibona, which improved to 4-1 atop Group A. Prkacin added 5 rebounds and 4 assists while Earl Calloway poured in 14 points. Vedran Vukusic scored 6 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a winning effort. Cibona next faces Maccabi Electra in Tel Aviv. Avellino dropped to 2-3 in the group despite 20 points from former Cibona star Chris Warren. Best added 11 points while Eric Williams chipped in 12 points and 6 rebounds.
Marin Rozic opened the game with two foul shots for the guests before both teams struggled to handle the ball which a series of turnovers. Slay knocked down a three-pointer for Avellino’s first score and Warren’s layup made it 2-5. After another Warren layup, Rozic drained a triple to knot the game at 9-9. Warren continued his fine first quarter with a three-ball to open a 10-14 lead and Williams’s foul shot gave the visitors a 12-17 advantage. But Kus converted a three-point play and Vukusic nailed a long ball as Cibona closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run for a 19-17 lead.
Mario Tusek gave Avellino back the lead to start the second with a triple and Warren’s next long ball made it 19-23. Cibona surged back again, however, with Rawle Marshall hitting 4 straight points and Luksa Andric’s basket completing a 9-2 run for a 28-25 Cibona cushion. Tusek hit another three-pointer to knot the game and Drake Diener made a three as well, but Prkacin’s basket left Cibona ahead 33-31 at the break.
Cibona started the better team out of the locker room with Kus knocking down a triple and Rosic making it 38-31. Avellino trailed 40-33, but Antonio Porta drained a three-ball. Calloway answered right back to make it 43-36. But Warren sandwiched three-balls around a Williams basket for a 0-8 run to push Avellino back ahead 43-44. Calloway reestablished the Cibona lead and Robert Troha hit again as the lead grew back to 47-44. But the sea-saw affair continued with Nikola Radulovic’s long ball giving the visitors the lead one more. Jared Homan evened the score before Calloway converted a Best turnover into a three-pointer and then stole the ball from Best again and laid it in for a 54-49 advantage, which Radulovic cut to 54-51 after three periods.
Andrea Crosariol dunked to start the fourth before Troha’s triple. Avellino missed two long balls and Marshall hit to make it 59-53. After Warren’s three was off target, Kus nailed a long ball and the lead suddenly was 64-55. Warren threw down a dunk on the other end but Homan converted a three-point play and Cibona had its first 10-point lead – 67-57 – with five minutes left. Williams made three foul shots and Cibona turned the ball over, allowing Williams to bring Avellino to within 67-62 on a layup. Kus was the beneficiary of an offensive rebound and made it 69-62. Best made two foul shots and then a layup as the deficit was down to 70-64. Cibona turned the ball over again and an inside lay-in by Williams cut it to 70-68 inside the final two minutes. Prkacin missed an inside layup and Slay knocked down 2 foul shots – stepping in for the injured Diener – to even the game at 70-70 with 30 seconds left. Marshall missed a three and Rozic’s jumper was off at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Kus’s lay-up started the extra session and then Homan made it 74-70 following a Porta turnover. Best converted a three-point play, but Slay turned the ball over after Avellino twice had grabbed offensive rebounds. Kus then made a layup to make it 77-73. Best cut the deficit to 2 with a layup and then Diener made 2 foul shots to knot the game again at 77-77 with just over a minute left. Prkacin scored on a layup for the hosts, but Williams was unable to hit at the other end and Prkacin was fouled and made both foul shots to make it 81-77. Diener made 2 free throws at his end and Calloway made just 1 foul shot to make it 82-79 and give Avellino a chance to force another overtime. But Best missed a three-pointer and Diener turned the ball over to end the game.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008