| Benetton Basket boosted its Last 16 hopes with a 102-69 rout of Dynamo Moscow on Tuesday night in Treviso, Italy. Gary Neal scored 20 points and Sandro Nicevic and Alessandro Gentile added 16 points apiece as Benetton improved to 3-1, which ties it with Crvena Zvezda for the top spot in Group F. Benetton will try to clinch a Last 16 spot when it hosts Cholet Basket after the winter break. Dynamo meanwhile saw its Last 16 hopes come to an end as it dropped to 0-4. Benetton was hot from downtown – making 14 of 27 triples – and forced Dynamo into 20 turnovers as it dominated throughout the second half to enjoy the blowout. Donatas Montiejunas added 12 points and Davor Kus had 12 points and 5 assists for the victors. Sergey Bykov paced Dynamo with 17 points, Alexey Zhukanenko posted 15 points and 13 rebounds, Dramir Zibirov scored 11 and Alexey Savrasennko had 10 in defeat.
Alexey Shved made his first start and started strong with the game's first basket. Moscow showed great aggressiveness early, but triples from Gentile and Kus set Treviso on the right track. Nicevic quickly found his range too and an easy basket from Gentile gave the hosts an early 14-5 lead, sending the visitors for a chat. Bykov netted from downtown, but Montiejunas returned the favor. However, another triple from Sergey Monya and 2 free throws from Zhukanenko cut the deficit to 17-15. However, coach Bazarevich got a technical foul that cost Dynamo early, as Treviso pulled away again. A battle of free throws led to a 25-19 lead at the end of the first buzzer. It took a minute for the scoreboard to alter in the second quarter, but then the crowd could appreciate the great touch of Monya for Dynamo and then Neal for Treviso. The show was not over as Daniele Sandri’s first contribution was an unreal throw in the air from the three-point line that gently fell off the glass and in. The hosts started to pull away. Zibirov tried to stop the bleeding with a corner triple, but Neal piled up the pressure with another pull-up jumper, 36-27. A few misfired shots from both sides due to Treviso’s asphyxiating defense and some inaccuracies from the hosts was followed by a steal and dunk by Gentile. Five quick points from Bykov and a Shved triple brought Dynamo within 6. A spectacular tap-in from Nicevic closed the first half at 46-38.
A nicely run pick-and-roll opened Treviso's account for the second half. A special spin fade away and a classic low post move made it 6 quick unanswered points for Nicevic and Treviso, 52-38. Dynamo took a timeout in vain as the gap kept increasing. A couple of triples from Neal, one coming off the screen and one in the corner, were the highlights. Kus and C.J. Wallace entered the three-point competition but, having safely built a 20-point margin, the hosts relaxed a bit on the defensive end. Head coach Frank Vitucci called a timeout to fix it. The 21-point margin coming into the final 10 minutes meant the fans were in for a full quarter of garbage time. Treviso did not lower its guard and kept a high level of intensity, while Neal kept producing miracles from beyond the arc. Young Andrea De Nicolao, back in the group, also had his part of the glory with a triple as Neal received a standing ovation. The icing on the cake came from Gentile’s triple that got Treviso over the 100-point mark en route to the win.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009