Lottomatica roared back from a double-digit deficit at halftime to rally past visiting DKV Joventut 71-69 at home in Rome, Italy on Wednesday. The result left both teams with 2-3 records in Group B and awaiting a Thursday game to find out whether they are tied for fourth place or fifth. Roma looked in trouble before a 0-8 start to the second half got the hosts back in the game, although it wasn't midway through the final quarter that they took the lead. Alex Righetti was the big gun for Roma with 16 points, including a three-pointer with 50 seconds left that sealed the outcome. Ognjen Askrabic added 13 points, Vlado Ilievski 12 and Dejan Bodiroga 11 for the winners. Paco Vazquez hit his first 6 triples of the night on his way to 19 points for Joventut, while Dimitri Flis and Charles Gaines added 11 each. Gaines also had 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Askrabic got Roma rolling with a triple on a third-chance possession to start the game, but points would become scarce soon. Joventut worked inside with Gaines and Archibald to take its first lead, 5-6, but Alex Righetti with free throws and Dimitrios Marmarinos on a feed from Bodiroga sent Roma up 9-6. A basket-plus-free throw by Bodiroga retained Roma's lead at 12-9 until Vazquez started heating up. His first triple put Joventut back in front, 12-13. His second and third from the arc came back-to-back and made it 13-21. Bodiroga got a layup back but Roma let Dimitri Flis put back a last-second rebound as Joventut took a 15-23 stand after 10 minutes.
Luca Garri tried to jump-start Roma with a triple to open the second quarter, but Archibal got those points back for Joventut on a dunk and the free throw that came with it. Garri's steal preceded a three-point shot by Righetti that pulled Roma within 22-27, but that's when Vazquez reappeared. His fourth and fifth blasts from downtown also came back-to-back and restored Joventut's double-digit advantage, 22-33. Flis added a jumper to that lead before Askrabic and Marmarinos tried to pull Roma back. Righetti's 3 free throws in the final minute cut the lead to 10 points, but Bennett put the finishing touches on a great half by Joventut with a triple on the last shot that left a 31-44 scoreboard for the visitors.
Roma quickly got back in the game after the break, as Ilievski and Loukas Mavrokfalides scores near the basket during an 8-0 opening run that got the hosts back to within 39-44. Joventut got a boost when Rudy Fernandez reappeared after missing games due to injury and nailed a three-pointer. But Roma kept pushing as Chatman free throws and an Ilievski layup made it 45-47. Ilievski kept going with a three-point play to make it 48-49, but Vazquez stopped that trend by stepping up for his sixth triple without a miss on the night. Roma would not be denied, however, so after more free throws took the hosts within 51-53 late in the quarter, Marmarinos broke loose to tie with a layup. Some seconds remained, however, and Bennett used them to set up a last shot that he hit from just inside the arc to keep Joventut in front, 53-55, after 30 minutes.
Gaines inside, Flis with a big triple and Andrew Sullivan with a bank shot stretched Joventut's lead to 55-62 early in the final quarter. Roma went 4 minutes with only a Bodiroga jumper to its credit, but when help came from his teammates, it came in bunches. Righetti pumped in one three-pointer on an assist from Ilievski, and next itme down the floor, Tonolli copied him with a pass from Bodiroga, Like that, it was 61-62, and on the next play, Tonolli fed Askrabic underneath for the go-ahead layup. A long minute plus a timeout passed before Sullivan drove and made a jump-hook to take the lead back for the visitors, but Boridoga immedately posted up the shorter Vazquez to put Roma ahead for good. After Askrabic and Gaines exchanged free throws, it was a one-point game, 67-66, going into the final minute. Joventut had missed a pair of opportunities, but Righetti made sure of his next one, a triple with 50 seconds left that proved to be the deciding shot. Joventut tried an alley-oop out of its next timeout, but only got closer on a last second triple by Sullivan after the outcome was clear in Roma's favor.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006