Top 16 Round 2 - February 22, 2007 CET: 20:45 Local time: 20:45 - PALAIS DES SPORTS DE PAU

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
0-0 Regular Season 0-1
7-8 Overall 13-2

Referees

Crew Chief
ZAVLANOS, NIKOLAOS, Greece
Referee
ZIEMBLICKI, GRZEGORZ, Poland
Umpire
LEFWERTH, OSCAR, Sweden

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
75.1 Points 82.9
33.9 Rebounds 32.7
9.7 O. Rebounds 11.4
24.1 D. Rebounds 21.3
13.3 Assists 16.9
12.6 Steals 12.7
3.3 Blocks 2.0
16.1 Turnovers 12.7
53.3 % 2PT 53.5 %
34.7 % 3PT 37.9 %
75.2 % FT 65.1 %
81.9 Index 91.7

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
15.7 / WRIGHT, MICHAEL Points 16.6 / Rakocevic
5.9 / Greer Rebounds 5.6 / SCOLA, LUIS
2.4 / WRIGHT, MICHAEL OR 2.2 / SPLITTER, TIAGO
3.9 / Greer DR 4.3 / SCOLA, LUIS
3.9 / MILES, AARON Assists 5.3 / PRIGIONI, PABLO
1.7 / HARRISON, C. Steals 2.9 / PRIGIONI, PABLO
1.5 / BAUER, M. Blocks 0.6 / Peker
2.2 / JOHNSEN, BRITTON Turnovers 2.1 / Rakocevic
67.7 % / MAHINMI, I. 2PT 87.5 % / PRIGIONI, PABLO
46.4 % / MILES, AARON 3PT 48.5 % / Rakocevic
100.0 % / RUPERT, THIERRY FT 94.4 % / PRIGIONI, PABLO
17.6 / WRIGHT, MICHAEL Index 17.7 / SCOLA, LUIS

THE TAKE

Pau-Orthez faces a tough test when it hosts Tau Ceramica on Thursday in a Top 16 Group E matchup in France. Both teams opened up the Top 16 on the road last week, but while Pau fell 78-68 at Roma, Tau recorded an impressive 68-79 victory at Maccabi Tel Aviv. Another road win would make Tau the overwhelming favorite to win the group, since it will play three of its last four games at home, where it has a 25-game winning streak. Likewise, a defeat for Pau would be a serious blow to its chances of advancing to the Quarterfinal Playoffs. The visitors will again be without their head coach, Velimir Perasovic, who is recovering from a stay in the hospital with heart problems. Top assistant Naxto Lezcano will continue to head the bench. Tau will also need to make due without the injured Zoran Planinic, though Igor Rakocevic and Serkan Erdogan more than made up for his absence with their scoring last week. This game features a clash between two of the top power forwards in the league this season. Tau's Luis Scola is a perennial All-Euroleague selection, while Michael Wright has shined brightly for Pau all season. Pau coach Gordon Herbert may need to use some of his other big men in a rotation on Scola, including forward Britton Johnsen and center Ian Mahinmi. However the hosts also like to change things up and play "small ball," using a three-guard lineup with the 1.96-meter Ricardo Greer or Melvin Sanders at small forward and playing Wright at the pivot. Though Fred House could be the answer for Tau on the wing, what happens inside could have an even bigger factor in the game. Tau could have trouble taking advantage of its better height, since Pau won't be afraid to constantly foul Tau centers Tiago Splitter and Kaya Peker, both of whom are sub-50% free-throw shooters. Playmaker Pablo Prigioni will push the Tau attack against counterpart Aaron Miles in one of the more important matchups of the night. At the other backcourt spot, Rakocevic will need to bring his defensive game, too, in order to limit Pau's C.C. Harrison. The key for the hosts will be defense: Pau is 4-0 this season at home when it limited opponents to fewer than 70 points, including a stunning win over CSKA Moscow. That won't be easy though, since Tau has only scored fewer than 75 points once all season. Whichever point guard manages to set the pace to his team's liking could play a major role in the outcome of this crucial encounter.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Euroleague.net - Natxo Mendaza, Vitoria

Quotes Head Coaches

HERBERT, GORDON
Pau-Orthez
"We played our worst game in the Euroleague at Roma so we have to prove something to our fans and to play with a spirit of revenge while facing one of the favorite teams of the competition. The only way to exist in this kind of game is to play with energy on both sides of the court. We will have to play our best basketball during the whole game and the solution can only come from one word: team."
LEZCANO, IGNACIO
Tau Ceramica
"We must go to Pau with winning as our only target. A defeat wouldn't be definitive but, right now, we have a chance to go there and take a good margin on our way to the quarterfinals. We are not a very consistent team right now, but I think that there aren't many teams in Europe that could consider themselves very consistent. We are on the right track, we are trying to make our game grow, especially by focusing on improved deffense. On offense, I hope we will be able to find better solutions every day and gain patience and play fresher basketball. I think Pau-Orthez is a team able to beat anybody. You can check how dangerous they are by watching the game they played against CSKA Moscow. They are a very athletic group, principally based on U.S. players who run the court pretty well and play high-tempo basketball. They don't have a main star; their game is not based in one only player; and they can play with several outside players, something that usually hurts us. We should stop their transition and protect the boards, as well as be patient to avoid turnovers in the early seconds of the possessions."

Players

FERCHAUD, CEDRIC
Pau-Orthez
"Everyone knows about Tau Vitoria, one of the best teams in Europe and one of the most consistent. But I am not worried, because this year each time we were faced with a great challenge, we played seriously and with great concentration. The problem is that a victory at home is now necesary for us to keep our options in this four-team group. I hope that our fans will help us to demonstrate that in basketball nothing is imposible."
Igor Rakocevic - Olympiacos Tau Ceramica had to survive a furious rally to stay perfect at the top of Group D by pulling out a 89-99 road win against Pau-Orthez in France on Thursday. Tau raised its record to 2-0, good for exclusive control of first place after Lottomatica Roma lost at home to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Pau fell to 0-2, but not for lack of trying. Tau led by as many as 25 points late in the third quarter, but Pau rallied after that to within 4 points with a couple minutes to play before the visitors made sure with 10-for-10 free throw shooting down the stretch. Luis Scola paced the winners with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Igor Rakocevic added 18 points, while Fred House had 17 and 10 rebounds. Serkan Erdogan scored all his 15 points in the first half. For Pau, Clint Harrison buried 4 three-pointers on the way to 22 points. Aaron Miles followed with 17 points, Michael Wright with 15 and Ricardo Greer with 14.

Nobody was able to find the hoop for the first minute of the game, until Fred House stole and dunkedteal with a dunk for the first Tau's first lead of the night. Although Ian Mahinmi and Michael Wright reacted quickly to push Pau ahead with back-to-back inside baskets, the visitors kept scoring easily off their defense. House turned into the go-to player for Tau, which otherwise struggled on offense due to poor shooting. House scored 9 points of Tau's 10-12 edge midway though the first period, as the hosts from Pau were unable to generate any consistency. The hosts tried looking also for a mismatch by using Britton Johnsen as power forward. Johnsen tied the game at 17-17 after 8 minutes with a short jumper, but that just woke up the guests. Tau punished Pau with 7 points in a row to enter the last minute of the quarter with a comfortable margin. After Aaron Miles and Scola exchanges baskets to keep the margin stable, Pablo Prigioni closed the quarter with a monster 9-meter three-pointer for Tau's first double-digit lead, 19-29.

Clint Harrison - EB Pau-OrthezBoth sides started the second quarter slow, but Melvin Sanders soon took over with a long-range jumper and a three-pointer that reduce the gap to 26-31 after 13 minutes. The answer came from a red-hot Erdogan, who scored Tau's first 11 points in the quarter, including 2 three-pointers that allowed the guests to maintain a safe margin at 29-40 after 15 minutes. Pau was unable to find a way to break through Tau’s hard defense, surviving now only through Michael Wright’s efforts inside. As such, Tau kept increasing the gap, this time thanks to a good streak from backup point guard Ender Arslan, who followed a three-pointer with 2 free throws to raise difference to 31-47 after 17 minutes. Pau seemed overwhelmed, unable to stop the Tau machine. Even when the hosts tried to disrupt Tau with a zone defense, Erdogan nailed a corner triple that seemed to say there nothing to stop him nor his team. Rakocevic then punctuated the half with a four-point play that left Tau with its highest lead yet, 36-59 at halftime.

The hosts came out strong after the intermission, fueled by back-to-back three pointers from Harrison and Miles, as Wright scored a layup to bring Pau within 44-63 after 22 minutes. The joy lasted only few seconds, as House rose to cap a nice assist from Prigioni with a one-handed dunk and followed that with a layup that returned the lead above 20 points. Tau's ball circulation was working brilliantly now, always finding the open man, outside or inside. Even the Pau fans were applauding the visitors' teamwork. The difference on the scoreboard remained stable during the third quarter, and hit a high of 25 points, 46-71. At the end of the quarter, Tau relaxed a bit and accepted a 12-4 run that allowed Pau to reach the end of the third period with a less painful disadvantage, 58-75.

Luis Scola - Tau CeramicaPau made its fans believe again with a very good start to the fourth quarter. The hosts caught Tau relaxing and, pushed by Xane D’Almeida and Greer, reduced the gap to 65-77 with 7 minutes to go. Tau tried to react after an urgent timeout, but Pau had the momentum. Little-used teen center Ludovic Vaty scored a layup and Harrison followed it with a fastbreak three-pointer to reduce the bring Pau within 70-78. Scola was the only guest able to score so far in the quarter as Tau’s shooters started missing open shots. At the same time, Pau got confident on three-pointers while playing with four perimeter players. Harrison found his momentum and hit twice from downtown to make it a five-point game at 82-87 after 37 minutes. Miles followed with another bomb to reduce the gap to just 4 points, 85-89, with 2 minutes to go. Pau pushed hard, took big risks on defense and decided to send Tau to the free throw line. There, however, the guests were a perfect 10-for-10 at the end to seal their leadership in Group D with an 89-99 win.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Euroleague.net
Referees: ZAVLANOS, NIKOLAOS (GRE), ZIEMBLICKI, GRZEGORZ (POL), LEFWERTH, OSCAR (SWE)
Attendance: 7000
By Quarter1234
Pau-Orthez19172231
Tau Ceramica29301624
End of Quarter1234
Pau-Orthez19365889
Tau Ceramica29597599
Head coach: HERBERT, GORDON
Pau-Orthez
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 FAUTHOUX, FREDERIC DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 HARRISON, CLINT 33:00 22 4/5 4/6 2/2 2 2 4 1 2 1     3 1 23
6 D'ALMEIDA, XANE 12:45 3 1/1   1/2   2 2 2   1     4 3 4
7 GREER, RICARDO 24:30 14 3/9 1/2 5/6 1 3 4 2 1 2     3 4 12
8 JOHNSEN, BRITTON 16:30 2 1/3 0/2   2 1 3 2   4     1 1 -1
9 FERCHAUD, CEDRIC 18:15 3   1/3     1 1           2    
11 MILES, AARON 27:15 17 5/8 2/2 1/1       2 3 2     3 1 15
12 RUPERT, THIERRY 4:15   0/1       2 2 1         2 1 1
14 MAHINMI, IAN 6:00 2 1/1       1 1     1     3   -1
16 VATY, LUDOVIC 11:45 4 2/3       2 2   1   2     1 9
18 WRIGHT, MICHAEL 28:15 15 6/6   3/6 1 3 4   1 2     4 5 16
19 SANDERS, MELVIN 17:30 7 1/2 1/5 2/2 1 2 3 1   2     3 1 2
Team                   4           4
Totals 200:00 89 24/39 9/20 14/19 7 19 26 11 12 15 2 0 28 18 84
61.5% 45% 73.7%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Head coach: LEZCANO, IGNACIO
Tau Ceramica
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 SCOLA, LUIS 29:45 23 8/15   7/13 3 5 8 5 2 1   2 2 8 28
5 PRIGIONI, PABLO 29:45 5 1/1 1/5   1   1 6   3     1 4 8
8 RAKOCEVIC, IGOR 25:00 18 2/5 2/8 8/8   2 2 1 2 2     1 5 16
9 VIDAL, SERGI 11:00 4 1/3   2/2 1 1 2 1 2         1 8
11 ERDOGAN, SERKAN 16:00 15 1/2 3/5 4/5         1 1       3 14
12 TELETOVIC, MIRZA 10:00     0/1     1 1           2 1 -1
14 PEKER, KAYA 26:15 6 3/5     2 2 4 2         5 1 6
20 ESLAVA, ARIEL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 SPLITTER, TIAGO 14:00 6 1/1   4/4   2 2   1 2     3 4 8
32 HOUSE, FRED 28:00 17 7/9 1/1   5 5 10 1 3 2     3   24
33 ARSLAN, ENDER 10:15 5   1/1 2/2   1 1 1   1     1 1 6
Team             4 4   4           8
Totals 200:00 99 24/41 8/21 27/34 12 23 35 17 15 12 0 2 18 28 125
58.5% 38.1% 79.4%
This game is not yet played
LEZCANO, IGNACIO
Tau Ceramica
"We must be happy because of this win. I cannot feel satisfied with the game we played. I'm worried about how we played the second half tonight. Nevertheless, this win is very important for us to be in a good position for taking the first place in our group and getting the home-court advantage in the quarterfinals. But we still have a long way in front of us. We started playing fluid basketball, our players felt confident and, although we didn't excel on defense, we did a good job. Maybe we relaxed a bit when we took so big a margin and also suffered physically in the second half. That allowed Pau to react and raise the level of their game. They managed to take us out of our style and made us struggle a lot in the end."
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