Anadolu Efes rallies late to beat Cedevita and later reach Top 16
Anadolu Efes Istanbul used a 2-17 fourth quarter run to rally from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and pull out a crucial 75-81 road win over Cedevita Zagreb in the Croatian capital on Thursday. Efes needed to wait until much later to celebrate, but when Olympiacos Piraeus defeated EA7 Emporio Armani Milan in Greece, Efes was mathematically assured a spot in the Top 16. The two teams split victories this season, and the margin from this win is identical to the score by which Cedevita won in Istanbul in Round 3. Both teams now hold 4-4 records in Group B. The two teams traded leads in the first half, before Jacob Pullen and Miro Bilan led Cedevita to a 13-0 run in the third quarter, and the hosts pulled away to 68-58 early in the fourth. But Derrick Brown and Bryant Dunston led Efes back, before Dario Saric and Birkan Batuk hit back-to-back threes to put the visitors up 70-75. Efes never relinquished the lead as Saric led the way with 16 points plus 10 rebounds in his first return to his home country as an Efes player. Brown had 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Jayson Granger added 10 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Jon Diebler also scored 10 in victory. Bilan collected 18 points and 8 rebounds, while Pullen had 17 points and 5 assists for Cedevita. Fran Pilepic went 4 for 4 from downtown to finish with 12 points and Luka Babic contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds in the losing effort.
First quarter: A pair of 0-7 runs put Efes ahead
Babic and Birkan Batuk traded three-pointers to open the scoring, before Alex Tyus banked a short jumper, then followed it with a put-back to make it 3-7. Babic made a runner, starting a Cedevita run. James White continued it with a layup, before Bilan finished consecutive possessions with layups to give Cedevita an 11-7 advantage. But the hosts missed all 4 of their free throw attempts, and after an Efes timeout, Diebler nailed a triple, before Saric finished a fastbreak with a layup, then added a jumper to the tally, making it 11-14. Pullen opened his account with a runner that snapped a 0-7 run, but Granger buried a triple to make it 13-17 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Efes keeps the slim lead
Pullen and Babic made back-to-back jumpers at the start of the quarter before, Brown and Bilan traded baskets from close range. A three-pointer from Fran Pilepic put Cedevita back in front, 24-22. But Diebler scored an easy fastbreak layup, before Brown scored 5 consecutive points, including a coast-to-coast layup, giving Efes a 24-30 lead. Marko Arapovic and Pilepic nailed back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game right away. But after an Efes timeout, Diebler and Granger buried back-to-back triples to restore Efes’s lead, 30-36. Tyus and Gordic exchanged close-range baskets, and Pilepic nailed his third triple, getting the hosts within 37-38. Tyus and Luka Zoric traded free throws before Granger assisted on a Saric layup, making it 39-42 at halftime.
Third quarter: A 13-0 run puts Cedevita in control
Saric knocked down a triple, and Thomas Heurtel raced for a fastbreak layup to open a 39-47 margin. Bilan had an easy layup, and Pullen drove for a layup for Cedevita. After a layup by Saric, Arapovic hit a triple for the hosts, getting them within 48-49. Dunston kept Efes in front with a dunk, and Heurtel found Granger for a layup, but Bilan had a put-back and Pullen added a fastbreak layup, before Bilan’s free throws put Cedevita back in front, 55-54. Pilepic extended the run with a three-pointer, his fourth of the night, and Cedevita made four more defensive stands, keeping the visitors without a single point for more than three minutes as Pullen made a driving layup and assisted on a Bilan layup, extending it to 62-54. Cedi Osman snapped a 13-0 run with a three-point play, but Pullen finished the quarter with a triple that made it 65-57.
Fourth quarter: Visitors rally to victory
Dunston split free throws, but Babic buried one from downtown to open the only double-digit lead of the night, 68-58. Granger hit free throws and Brown made a mid-range jumper for Efes. Dunston cut the deficit to 4 with a fastbreak dunk. Zoric made a pair of free throws, but Brown made a tip-in and Dunston a mid-range jumper to get Efes within 70-69. The visitors held Cedevita to only 2 points for almost seven minutes, and back-to-back three-pointers from Saric and Batuk put Efes back into the lead, 70-75. Bilan snapped a 0-11 run with 2 free throws, but a put-back from Osman restored a 5-point margin. Free throws from Bilan cut it to 74-77, but neither team scored again until Heurtel made a pair of free throws for Efes with 26 seconds to go. When Pullen only split foul shots, the visitors were on their way to a crucial triumph as Heurtel made both foul shots to seal the victory.
Thursday, December 3, 2015