Maroussi BC enhanced its Top 16 hopes by completing a regular season sweep of Union Olimpija with a 74-62 home win on Wednesday in Athens. Maroussi is now 2-5 and just one victory out of all-important fourth place in Group C before the team sitting alone there, 3-3 Lottomatica Roma, plays on Thursday. Union Olimpija fell to 1-6 and will need to now pass Maroussi in wins to have a chance at reaching the Top 16. Maroussi used a 14-4 run in the opening minutes of the final quarter to push a modest lead to 15 points. Jared Homan led the way for Maroussi with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Michalis Pelekanos added 12 points while Kostas Kaimakoglou had 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Matt Walsh paced Olimpija with 12 points. Sani Becirovic seconded him with 11 points and 3 assists while Nemanja Aleksandrov chipped in 10 points and 6 rebounds. After trailing by 14 in the first quarter, Olimpija fought back by turning up the tempo and, despite not scoring for 5 minutes of the third quarter, cut the difference to 4. That was as close as the visitors would get, however, as Maroussi proved too strong in the final period.
Gaspar Vidmar opened the scoring for Olimpija before Pelekanos hit a layup and a finger roll to get Maroussi on the board. Jamon Lucas found Homan open off an in-bounds play for an easy 2 points before Kaimakoglou threaded a nice pass to Homan for a layup. Pelekanos then got position inside for a bucket, Kaimakoglou threw down an alley-oop pass served up by Lucas, and Homan put back a miss to cap a 16-2 game-opening run. Becirovic finally got a layup to fall for the visitors, and then passed to an open Uros Slokar for a three-pointer. Homan connected on a jumper, but Dusan Djordjevic also found the range from downtown to cut the difference to 18-10. Pelekanos hit a pair of free throws and Kaimakoglou worked inside for the short bank shot. Billy Keys and Aleksandrov traded pairs of free throws, Pat Calathes hit a baseline jumper, and Keys made a layup to put Maroussi ahead 28-14 after 10 minutes.
Slokar used a quick drop step to start the second-quarter scoring. Aleksandrov followed with a triple from the top to lower the difference to single digits. Dimitrios Mavroeidis responded for the Maroussi by tossing in 2 free throws, and Georgios Diamantopoulos swished a triple from the wing to push Maroussi back ahead. Walsh used a pick-and-roll to free Vidmar for a slam. The Olimpija center banged for another basket before Saso Ozbolt dished to Aleksandrov for the layup, but Homan stuffed another drive by Djordjevic and Kaimakoglou added free throws for Maroussi. Walsh drilled a super-deep three-pointer to beat the shot clock before Ozbolt found Vladimir Golubovic for the layup-plus-free throw to cut the lead to 38-31. Keys scored 2 foul shots, and Homan made a deep jumper from the baseline before Aleksandrov hit an open three-pointer. Becirovic turned a steal Walsh into a reverse layup as Olimpija further trimmed the margin to 42-36 at the half.
Both teams started the third quarter cold as the defenses short-circuited the opponents attack. Lucas finally moved the scoreboard with one-handed slam his team's three-minute scoring drought. Mavroeidis added free throws before Walsh ended Olimpija's nearly 5 scoreless minutes. Pelekanos scored in close to reestablish a double-digit lead, 48-38, for Maroussi. After Walsh hit free throws, Olimpija tried a 2-3 zone, but Kaimakoglou drew Slokar's fourth foul, then broke out for a transition layup to make it 51-40. Becirovic penetrated for a tough layup then hit a corner triple to keep Olimpija close. Walsh spun to the basket for a layup to cap an 0-7 burst by Olimpija that reduce the deficit to 4 points, 51-47. The Olimpija kept stifling Maroussi's attack until Homan's free throw ended the third quarter 52-47.
Keys passed to Homan for a layup to start the final quarter, and it seemed to free Maroussi. Homan soon added a pair of free throws, Stevan Nadjfeji connected on a three-pointer, and Pelekanos made a breakaway layup to suddenly push the hosts ahead by 61-47 lead. Becirovic finally stopped the 9-0 Maroussi run by finding Vidmar for a layup. Lucas made a two-pointer, but Golubovic tipped in a miss by Walsh. Lucas found Nadjfeji for another three-pointer to give the home team a15-point lead. Golubovic got inside for a dunk, but some nice ball movement ended in a layup by Nadjfeji. Walsh drained a three-pointer off a busted offensive set, and Ozbolt hit a floater on the baseline. Calathes added 2 more from the foul line and Maroussi took care of business to close out the win.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009