Coming back strong from its first loss of the season - not to mention a bad first quarter on its own floor - Climamio chalked up a prestigious 77-70 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday night in Group A. The victory lifted Climamio's record to 6-1 and assured it of a share of first place at the halfway point in the regular sason. Madrid, meanwhile, dropped to 4-3 and what will be a share of third place with either Cibona VIP or Prokom Trefl Sopot. Although Madrid led early and often, by as many as 14 points, the outcome was decided in the second half when Milos Vujanic first and then Gianluca Basile started to riddle the basket for Climamio. Basile poured in 19 points and Vujanic 17 for the winners, who also got 11 from Matjaz Smodis and 10 from Stefano Mancinelli. Madrid suffered off nights by two key players, Louis Bullock and Felipe Reyes, who only had 8 points between them. Mickael Gelabale led the visitors with 17 points, while Pat Burke added 15 and Axel Hervell 10.
Madrid newcomer Troy Bell took the floor with intensity, guarding Vujanic and hitting from downtown to put the guests ahead 0-5. Erazem Lorbek got the hosts on the scoreboard and helped double-team Reyes on defense. Madrid reacted by finding Burke open for baskets on the way to a 2-10 advantage midway through the quarter. Although Lorbek came out of a timeout and dunked, Burke continued to dominated under the boards, with pairs of offensive rebounds and jump shots that pushed the lead to 4-14. Climamio coach Jasmin Repesa rushed in substitutions but the tune stayed the same as Madrid reached a 13-point advantage, 5-18. And when big man Dalibor Bagaric sank free throws to wake the Bologna crowd, Hervelle answered with a blast from the three-point arc to end a dominant 8-21 first quarter for the guests.
Martin Rancik opened the second quarter with a five-meter shot and inspired Climamio's defense. Soon, Basile's three-pointer cut the lead to 13-21. Madrid stayed alive with foul shots by Moustapha Sonko, but when Vujanic fired in 5 consecutive points, Climamio was within 22-24. Hervelle raised his voice under the opponents' rim, but Climamio caught fire as Mancinelli hit from downtown, too, pulling the hosts within 25-26 at minute 16. Gelabale and Antonio Bueno restored the Madrid advantage at 25-30, before Smodis landed 4 straight points to narrow the difference again, to 31-32. Bullock would close the quarter on a break to let Madrid preserve a 31-34 edge at the half.
High voltage came from Climamio in the third quarter. Basile and Vujanic started from beyond the arc to overtake the momentum for the hosts. Smodis took the team on his shoulders under the boards. His fade-away shot came as the Climamio defense was stopping one Madrid play after another and provided the first five-points edge for the hosts, 43-38, midway through the quarter. Two layups from Vujanic sent Climamio up by 7 points. He cemented that difference at 50-43 by following Gelabale's triple with one of his own. But in the last minute of the quarter, Madrid rallied behind Burke, who slammed on an offensive board, and veteran guard Alberto Herreros, whose three-pointer off a pick tied the game 50-50 after 30 minutes.
Intensity was the flavor of the final quarter. Basile broke the equilibrium with a triple but Herreros had the hot hand, took and put Madrid within 53-52. Hervelle then stepped up big-time to bury a three-pointer and give his team its first lead in 13 minutes, 53-55. After Sonko added a basket to Madrid's lead, Climamio resurfaced with long-distance shooters: Basile first, then Lorbek and Mancinelli seized a three-point lead, 62-59, with 4 minutes to play. Then, off a timeout called by Madrid, Mancinelli found his third triple of the night, although Gelabale replied again to cut the lead to 65-63. A free throw by Bullock helped Madrid get closer, but Basile scored on a goal-tended layup and drew an offensive charging call on Sonko with 41 seconds to play, when Climamio led 67-64. After that, Madrid missed three shots to come back again, and the visitors' hopes vanished as Basile, Vujanic, Rancik and Douglas protected the victory by hitting 10 of 10 free throws down.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004