| Maroussi Costa Coffee increased its chances of reaching the Last 16 with a convincing 91-75 win over Zadar, which entered the game atop of the Group A standings. Maroussi improved to 3-2 and now has the tiebreak advantage over Zadar, which won the first game between the two 87-69. Maroussi improved to 3-2 and will advance if it wins its regular season finale at Chorale Roanne. Zadar meanwhile fell to 3-2, but will advance if it beats ASK Riga next week. The hosts used an early 14-0 charge to take control and never looked back. The lead reached 36-18 before settling at 49-35 by halftime. Zadar never gave in and cut the difference to single digits a number of times, but the hosts always had the answer en route to the crucial win. Loukas Mavrokefalides led Maroussi with 16 points, Dimitrios Mavroeidis added a season-high 14, Giorgos Diamantopoulos scored 13, Kostas Charalampidis 11 and Billy Keys 10. Hrvoje Peric paced Zadar with 19, Todor Gesevski followed with 16, Rok Stipcevic added 14 and Deyan Ivanov 11.
Maroussi started the game in high gear with a 14-0 run to take a 16-4 lead after only four minutes of action. The hosts dominated under the boards, executed effectively the pick-and-roll and managed to run in the open court. The visitors didn’t have many offensive options, struggled on defense and committed 7 turnovers in the first quarter alone. Mavrokefalides made a jumper at the end of the first period to give his team a 26-11 advantage at the end of the opening period. Maroussi continued to control the game in the second period. Diamantopoulos hit a three pointer to make it 36-18 as Zadar struggled to score from downtown. Gecevski finally drilled back-to-back three-pointers to cut the margin to 40-28. Andreas Glyniadakis contributed a basket and a free throw, but Peric did the same to cut the deficit to 10 points. Kostas Kaimakoglou fired in a three-pointer and Shawn Huff scored at the buzzer for Maroussi to finish the first half ahead 49-35.
Maroussi was looking cool in the beginning of the third quarter and didn’t have reasons to worry. Jarod Stevenson hit a big three to increase the lead to 60-43 as part of a 9-0 run. Then Zadar woke up and played some good defense, grabbed consecutive offensive rebounds to score from second chance and led by Peric and Stipcevic went on a 2-10 spurt to cut the margin to 64-53. Keys hit a three pointer for 67-53, but Tomislav Ruzic bagged a two-point basket to get Zadar within 9. Charalampidis netted a three to close the third quarter at 70-58. Diamantopoulos came up big from the bench in the fourth quarter to score points, dish assists and open fast breaks as Maroussi not only took the victory, but also cover its 8-point defeat from the first leg. Stipcevic cut the score to 72-64, but Keys and Stevenson hit from behind the arc and contributed a 8-0 run to make it 80-64. Then it was Diamantopoulos’s turn to perform his show both in defense and offense and seal the victory in style.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009