Regular Season Round 1 - October 26, 2006 CET: 00:00 Local time: 00:00 - PALAVERDE

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
0-0 Regular Season 0-0
0-0 Overall 0-0

Referees

Crew Chief
JUNGEBRAND, CARL, Finland
Referee
DOZAI, SRDAN, Croatia
Umpire
CHAMBON, DAVID, France

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
0 Points 0
0 Rebounds 0
0 O. Rebounds 0
0 D. Rebounds 0
0 Assists 0
0 Steals 0
0 Blocks 0
0 Turnovers 0
0 2PT 0
0 3PT 0
0 FT 0
0 Index 0

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
0 Points 0
0 Rebounds 0
0 OR 0
0 DR 0
0 Assists 0
0 Steals 0
0 Blocks 0
0 Turnovers 0
0 2PT 0
0 3PT 0
0 FT 0
0 Index 0

THE TAKE

A classic Euroleague showdown takes places in Treviso on Thursday when Italian League champion Benetton welcomes Lithuanian superpower Zalgiris Kaunas in Group C. Both teams return to the competition with renovated rosters and high ambitions. Zalgiris had to face early injury problems, as Marcelinho Machado was sidelined with a shoulded injury, leaving a spot filled by sharpshooter Kirk Penney, on a two-month contract. Benetton's main concern will be shutting down scoring machine Marko Popovic, who has led Zalgiris so far. Popovic has a perfect complement in Mantas Kalnietis, a fast point guard ready to show his driving skills. Point guard Vidas Ginevicius, Penney and forward Jonas Maciulis round out the Zalgiris perimeter game. Popovic will test his scoring skills against Nikos Zisis and Marco Mordente, a tandem that play with equal energy and smarts. Also on the outside, Benetton brought in Terrell Lyday, three-point threat Richie Frahm and forward Nick George to add to do-everything team captain Matteo Soragna. The battle in the paint will be interesting, as Zalgiris counts on a top big man duo, veteran Tanoka Beard and up-and-coming power forward Paulius Jankunas, as well as Hanno Mottola, an experienced power forward with unlimited scoring potential. Spencer Nelson will provide his versatility and rebounding skills for Benetton, while Marcus Goree will have a difficult test against Beard. Talented big man Angelo Gigli and rebounding ace Joey Beard will try to help Benetton in what promises to be the key of this showdown: the inside game. If Lyday and Mordente manage to slow Popovic, Benetton will strong chances to win, while Zalgiris needs its big men to create two-on-one situations and free shooters like Popovic and Penney. Expect nothing but a tough, 40-minute battle in Treviso on Thursday.

Quotes Head Coaches

BLATT, DAVID
Benetton Basket
"It's time for another great competition, the best all over Europe, and everybody in the team is excited about that. Our work in practice is good and successful, so we have to put it on the floor tomorrow. The fact that we have some of the best teams of the competition will represent an additional motivation for us, starting with Zalgiris. We will try to play our basketball, a smart way to have aggresiveness on defense and move the ball quickly on the other side of the floor."
BAGATSKIS, AINARS
Zalgiris
"We are very excited before our first Euroleague game this season. I can not say that we are 100 percent prepared for the Euroleague season, because it’s a continuous process and we need to play a few Euroleague games to make it over. But I can definitely say that my players are eager to play and can’t wait for the Euroleague tip-off. Recent games in domestic leagues proved that we’re ready for it. Benetton went through some big changes in between the seasons. They added many new players and some of them we know very well from last season.

Benetton had to change their playing style because they lost Ramunas Siskauskas who was big part of their system. Now they play more like a team and use more players in the offense. I am unhappy that Benetton suffered a few losses in Italian league. Usually Italian teams take it hard when they lose games in the local championship. Despite the fact that they won a few recent games, they still feel like wounded beast. We are going to play against very dangerous and strong team this Thursday."

Players

GIGLI, ANGELO
Benetton Basket
"It's a new adventure for me, and I'm looking forward to getting into this exciting atmosphere. I've been talking these days to my teammates who hve already played in the Eurolegaue and they gave me a picture of it: the first thing I know is that every game is really tough from the tipoff to the final buzzer, so we need to be focused on our skills all the time and try to be aggressive every time. Zalgiris is a young team with some talented players, but at this time we have to think about how we can improve. We are getting better, things on the floor now come easier and I think it will be important to have a good impact beginning this competition, especially because you can't waste the homecourt factor in this competition."
GINEVICIUS, VIDAS
Zalgiris
"It’s hard to say something about our opponents now, because I haven’t seen them playing this season. Benetton is a big name, but they have a lot of new players on the roster this season. As far as I know Benetton is not doing very well in Italian championship. But I believe it’s only temporary difficulties that they will overcome soon. They are going to find their rhythm. I wouldn’t say that we are in our best shape, either. Zalgiris signed many new players, too and we still need to understand each other better on the court. Anyway, the good thing is that we are improving and, I hope, we will be at our best shape just before the most important games. I am happy that I avoided injuries and will be able to help my team in this upcoming game."
Terrell Lyday - Benetton Benetton came out strong but still had to battle its way to a 95-82 win over visiting Zalgiris Kaunas in their Group C opener on Thursday night in Treviso, Italy. Spencer Nelson scored 26 points and Marcus Goree 20 for Benetton, which led by 13 after the first period. Zalgiris rallied to get within 5 late in the second, but Benetton still was in charge by 55-48 at halftime and never gave up control the rest of the way. Nikos Zisis had 16 points and 8 assists for the winners, while Terrel Lyday added 12 and Marco Mordente 10. Marko Popovic led Zalgiris with 21 points and 5 assists, Kirk Penney drilled 4 three-pointers on his way to 16 points. Tanoka Beard and Paulius Jankuna added 11 each and Hanno Mottola 10 for Zalgiris.

Lyday got his team going with a jumper, but Jonas Maciulis responded straight away inside. Then Popovic found his way through to Beard, good for a 4-2 Zalgiris lead. Goree got into the act with a three-pointer, a pair of defensive rebounds and a dunk. The game picked up pace with an alley-oop for Zalgiris and a basket from Maciulis. Goree was on fire and netted another triple tht Popovic matched to get Zalgiris back at 10-9. The show continued with a reverse layup from Zizis. Nelson scored off a Lyday feed, but Popovic kept his team alive. Beard silenced the crowd from the arc, but soon the Benetton defense started to take over, while its offense wouldn't miss from three-point range and kept pulling away, 26-17. Nelson was causing problems, making free throws and another bomb to bring the crowd to its feet at 31-19. Free throws by Beard and Zizis fixed the score at 33-20 after 10 minutes.

Despite Zalgiris starting the second quarter with a triple, Angelo Gigli thrilled the crowd with a spectacular two-hand jam. The 24-second cloack was a formality as the game kept flowing. Jankunas draw a foul on Mordente and made free throws as Benetton sought to calm the rhythm. Matthew Santangelo reassured the hosts with a three-pointer, but Mottola and friends. started to win the battle inside and got Zalgiris to within 6 points, 38-32. Benetton regrouped in a zone defense, while Lyday gave his team fresh air from downtown to make it 43-34. That spurred a Zalgiris timeout, but the threes kept flying for Benetton, including a desperation chuck from Nelson to beat the clock. Penney hit a jumper, but Zizis scored a couple to keep Benetton's 13-point advantage. By the time Gilgi dunked it off a Matteo Soragna feed the score was 53-41. Maciulis hit free throws and a triple down the stretch before Beard scored on a coast-to-coast run to get Zalgiris back within 55-48 at the half.

Marko Popovic - ZalgirisBenetton started the second half with a small lineup and got Maciulis in foul trouble straight away. Lyday then scored inside to make it 57-48. Goree added to that before Jankunas connected from three-point distance, but the unguardable Nelson did the same. Zisis scored in the traffic while Zalgiris seemed lost in attack. Zisis now drew a foul on the way to the basket, netting both free throws and extending the home lead to 15 points. Mordente and Zisis were taking their time running the Benetton offense now, but Zalgiris was showing no sign of giving up. Jankunas scored free throws and a basket before Goree made 2 spectacular blocks and drew a foul on offense, though missing the free throws. Penney netted a three-pointer to get Zalgiris within 8 points, but Zisis took all of those points back for Benetton from downtown, forcing a timeout by the visitors. Penney drilled his second from the arc in quick succession but Climamio reacted every time, until a splendid hook inside by Mordente locked up a 14-point advantage after 30 minutes, 75-61.

Mottola tried to spark Zalgiris with a triple to start the last quarter. Angelo Gigli took over inside for Benetton, however, with free throws and a dunk off a great assist by Nelson, who then drove to make it 81-67. Zalgiris answered with 5 consecutive points as Popovic trimmed the difference to single digits at 81-72. Benetton coach David Blatt called timeout, after which his team passed up open shots while trying to run the clock down. The patience paid off again with a triple by Nelson triple, good for an 84-72 score with 5 minutes left. Popovic shaved the lead with free throws and forced a turnover to cap another 0-5 spurt that made it 84-77. Zizis calmed Benetton with free throws and Goree scored to rebuild an 11-point Benetton advantage. Again, Zalgiris dropped the deficit, with Penney hitting from the corner to make it 88-80, but time was scarce. When Zizis converted free throws in the next-to-last minute, Benetton was secure. Zalgiris had no fuel left for full-court defense and Benetton cushioned the margin with a 95-82 final score to start the season.
Referees: JUNGEBRAND, CARL (FIN), DOZAI, SRDAN (CRO), CHAMBON, DAVID (FRA)
Attendance: 2963
By Quarter1234
Benetton Basket33222020
Zalgiris20281321
End of Quarter1234
Benetton Basket33557595
Zalgiris20486182
Head coach: BLATT, DAVID
Benetton Basket
# 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 LYDAY, TERRELL 33:15 12 4/6 1/5 1/4 1 4 5 2 5 2 1   2 4 16
6 ZISIS, NIKOS 32:45 16 4/6 0/1 8/9       8 1 1     1 6 25
7 SORAGNA, MATTEO 16:00   0/1           2 1 3     1   -2
8 GEORGE, NICK 0:45                   1         -1
9 MORDENTE, MARCO 25:45 10 2/3 2/3   1 1 2 3 2 3     4   8
11 RULLO, ROBERTO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 SANTANGELO, MATTHEW 12:15 3   1/2   1 1 2 1   1     1   3
15 GIGLI, ANGELO 13:15 8 4/5   0/1       1 3 2   1 1 1 7
16 SOTTANA, LUCA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17 NELSON, SPENCER 29:45 26 2/2 6/7 4/4 1 5 6 3 2 4     5 6 33
18 GOREE, MARCUS 27:15 20 6/7 2/4 2/4 2 5 7   1 3 3   2 3 24
19 BEARD, JOEY 9:00   0/1       2 2           1    
Team             2 2   11 1         12
Totals 200:00 95 22/31 12/22 15/22 6 20 26 20 26 21 4 1 18 20 125
71% 54.5% 68.2%
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: BAGATSKIS, AINARS
Zalgiris
# 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 GINEVICIUS, VIDAS 10:45     0/2         1         1 1 -1
6 BEARD, TANOKA 27:00 11 2/2 1/1 4/8 1 4 5 2 1 4     2 4 13
7 PECIUKAS, VAIDOTAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 MACIULIS, JONAS 19:00 9 2/3 1/2 2/3   1 1   2 4     5 2 2
9 KALNIETIS, MANTAS 25:30 4 2/4 0/1     2 2 1 3 3 1   2 1 4
10 JASIKEVICIUS, VYTENIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 27:45 11 2/5 1/3 4/4 2 2 4 1 4 1   1 2 3 14
14 SILINSKIS, DARIUS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
20 PENNEY, KIRK 34:00 16 2/4 4/6   5 3 8 3 1 4     2   18
24 POPOVIC, MARKO 34:00 21 2/4 5/7 2/2   1 1 5 2 3   2 2 5 23
25 MOTTOLA, HANNO 22:00 10 3/5 1/4 1/1   3 3 1 2 5   1 4 2 3
31 STIMAC, VLADIMIR DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team             1 1   6 1         6
Totals 200:00 82 15/27 13/26 13/18 8 17 25 14 21 25 1 4 20 18 82
55.6% 50% 72.2%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

BLATT, DAVID
Benetton Basket

"The first game is always tough in the league or in the Euroleague because all the pressure is on you. We reacted properly and well. Their league is not as strong as the Italian League, so for them it must have been a shock. The next time we play them, they'll have played a few Euroleague games and they'll be more prepared to play against us. I am happy with the game that we played, we executed our game plan and if it had not been for a few irresponsible turnovers, the score would have been bigger."

BAGATSKIS, AINARS
Zalgiris
"It is impossible to say anything good about our defense. We let in 55 points in the first half. We looked better after the halftime break but still not good enough to win the game. For some moments our defense was really great, but for some moments it looked awful. We couldn't find our defensive rhythm."

"Our perimeter and frontcourt players did not cooperate on defense the way they had to. The defense we use against the pick'n'roll plays usually works but it did not this time. Perhaps we were too nervous because it was our first game in the Euroleague this season. Maybe the problem was lack of experience but, again, we had our most experienced players on the court."

"I have to admit we had bigger problems than defense. We committed a lot of silly turnovers in offense. Eight players turned the ball over 25 times. That's more than three turnovers for each. However, our opponents had 21 turnovers. It means we were quite aggressive. But our mistakes cost more because Benetton converted almost all of them into easy baskets."

Players

GIGLI, ANGELO
Benetton Basket

"It is very nice to start off with a victory. We played a very good ball game as well, so it is all very positive. I felt a bit nervous for my first game in the competition but once it started I only thought about playing. I just hope that I will keep improving game after game."

POPOVIC, MARKO
Zalgiris
"The biggest problem was definitely our defense. We let them make too many open shots. Away games in the Euroleague cannot be played like that. We have to work out on our defense a lot. It's not easy to play against Benetton on their ground, but, still, I think we should have done better."

"If every player doesn't give his best on the court, one cannot expect defense is going to work. The same can be applied in offense. We have to play as a team both in defense in offense and I think upcoming games in Baltic and Lithuanian leagues will help us to fix an open issue."

"I suppose we need more practice. Some players, including me, Mottola, Machado, joined the team later than everybody else, then Machado got injured, Penney came. We could find many excuses for this loss but there isn't one. Other teams also have problems so we need to go step-by-step, solve these problems and start winning."
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