Regular Season Round 7 - December 06, 2006 CET: 20:30 Local time: 20:30 - ANTARES

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
3-3 Overall 5-1

Referees

Crew Chief
ZAVLANOS, NIKOLAOS, Greece
Referee
DRABIKOVSKY, VOLODYMR, Ukraine
Umpire
LOPES, LUIS, Portugal

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
71.7 Points 81.7
33.3 Rebounds 30.8
9.8 O. Rebounds 11.0
23.5 D. Rebounds 19.8
16.0 Assists 16.8
6.5 Steals 12.3
3.0 Blocks 2.0
14.8 Turnovers 13.7
54.2 % 2PT 52.4 %
33.0 % 3PT 39.7 %
74.0 % FT 62.8 %
79.2 Index 85.2

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
16.7 / GREGORY, WILLIAM KENDRICK Points 16.3 / SCOLA, LUIS
8.0 / CAMPBELL, ERIC Rebounds 5.3 / SCOLA, LUIS
2.8 / CAMPBELL, ERIC OR 2.6 / HOUSE, F.
5.2 / CAMPBELL, ERIC DR 4.2 / SCOLA, LUIS
4.2 / WHEELER, T. Assists 4.8 / Planinic
1.3 / NICEVIC, SANDRO Steals 2.7 / PRIGIONI, PABLO
1.0 / NICEVIC, SANDRO Blocks 0.8 / Peker
3.8 / NICEVIC, SANDRO Turnovers 2.2 / SCOLA, LUIS
66.7 % / CAMPBELL, ERIC 2PT 100.0 % / PRIGIONI, PABLO
55.6 % / GREGORY, WILLIAM KENDRICK 3PT 50.0 % / Erdogan
100.0 % / NICEVIC, SANDRO FT 100.0 % / PRIGIONI, PABLO
20.2 / CAMPBELL, ERIC Index 16.3 / SCOLA, LUIS

THE TAKE

Le Mans Sarthe Basket faces one of the toughest challenges in its short Euroleague history so far by hosting Tau Ceramica on Wednesday in Group A. Le Mans (3-3) comes off a key road win against RheinEnergie that improved its Top 16 chances considerably, given that five of its eight remaining regular season games are at home. Meanwhile, Tau Ceramica (5-1) is on a five-game winning streak that has proven its status as one of the deepest, most talented teams in European basketball. Tau leads the league in assists (15.8 apg.) but is last in free throw percentage (63%). Meanwhile, Le Mans ranks second in fouls committed (just 16.7 per game) but is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the competition (70 ppg.). Above all, Tau's main concern will be slowing Le Mans' dynamic duo, Kenny Gregory (16.7 ppg., 6.5 rpg.) and Eric Campbell (15.3 ppg., 8 rpg.), who are able to change any games due to their versatility and athleticism. Tau's task will be even tougher since defensive ace Fred House (8.6 ppg., 5.4 rpg.) now joins Sergi Vidal on the injured list. House has a stress fracture in one foot and will miss at least this week's game. Tau can rely, however, one its own elite battery of shooters, featuring Serkan Erdogan (8.8 ppg.), Igor Rakocevic (14.2 ppg.) and floor general Zoran Planinic (11.5 ppg., 4.8 apg.). Meanwhile, Campbell will have the tough mission to face All-Euroleague power forward Luis Scola (16.3 ppg.), a world-class talent who can - and does - take over games with his post skills and leadership. Scola will get some help from Kaya Peker (4.8 ppg.) and Tiago Splitter (9 ppg., 8.7 rpg.), who will have a strong test against Le Mans big men Sandro Nicevic (12.5 ppg.) and Alain Koffi (2.5 ppg.). The point guard battle will also be one of the keys to this game, as Planinic and All-Euroleague second-team assist ace Pablo Prigioni (4.3 apg.) will go against Tyson Wheeler (7.5 ppg.), Yannick Bokolo (3.5 ppg.) and Pape-Philippe Amagou (3.7 ppg.). Nebojsa Bogavac (9 ppg.) is a key guy to watch for Le Mans, as he has averaged 12 points in victories and just 3 in defeats. Bogavac and youngster Nicolas Batum, who played in France over the weekend after having missed a game, will face Erdogan and Rakocevic. Tau is the favorite in this game, but few teams match the athleticism and motivation Le Mans offers its fans at home. Expect nothing but a balanced game as both teams try to get to the Top 16.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Euroleague.net, Natxo Mendaza - Vitoria

Quotes Head Coaches

COLLET, VINCENT
Le Mans
"After Olympiacos, we are now hosting the other leader of our group, so we expect a very difficult match against a team which plays with a lot of intensity on both sides of the court. As a consequence, it is of the utmost importance for us to resist on the physical side, and to perform well one-on-one."
PERASOVIC, VELIMIR
Tau Ceramica
"Le Mans is a very dangerous team. They were able to beat Efes on the road and also made Olympiacos struggle until the final quarter. They were winning for many minutes and Olympiacos could beat them only because of a terrific last quarter, so that means we are facing a tough contender, especially at on its home court. They have very good players like Nicevic and the three U.S. players - Wheeler, Campbell and Gregory - as the team's first options on offense are focused on them. They count on very athletic players, and that gives them a lot of power on defense. They play aggressive, intense defense, they steal a lot of balls and most of their players are able to play above the rim. Many of their baskets come off a turnover or a steal, because they play very good defense."

Players

NICEVIC, SANDRO
Le Mans
"This match at home is extremely important. We are going to face one of the two best teams of our group. A win would provide us with a lot more opportunities of qualification for the Top 16. We will have to start the game tough, defending hard from the start while playing with rhythm both on defense and on attack."
RAKOCEVIC, IGOR
Tau Ceramica
"They have a balanced record, 3-3, and I'm sure they will be tough to beat at their home court. They are dangerous, and very good athletically, so I think that we will need to play very good basketball to be able to win in Le Mans. We must play good tactically and also play very tough to prevent them from feeling comfortable. People say that we are playing a very good defense lately, very intense, and I think it's a good sign for us, as we are working hard in that area and I honestly think we did a very good job against big teams in recent games."
Luis Scola - Tau Ceramica Tau Ceramica collected its sixth straight Group A win and set up a big showdown for next week by edging Le Mans Sarthe Basket 76-79 on the road on Wednesday night. Tau improved to 6-1 and retained a share of the top spot with Olympiacos, which beat RheinEnergie 81-88 in Dusseldorf, Germany, earlier in the evening. The winner of next week's clash in Vitoria, Spain will take sole possession of the Group A lead. Meanwhile, Le Mans dropped to 3-4, but keeps its Top 16 chances alive. Luis Scola led the winners with 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting and 9 rebounds. Igor Rakocevic added 14 points, Serkan Erdogan and Tiago Splitter each had 13 and Zoran Planinic scored 10 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished 5 assists for Tau. Sandro Nicevic and Kenny Gregory each had 18 points for Le Mans. Nebojsa Bogavac added 15 while Eric Campbell posted a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds for the hosts. Erdogan and Scola helped Tau to get a 40-50 lead at halftime. A put-back dunk by Alain Koffi brought Le Mans within 52-54, but Rakocevic, Planinic and Scola allowed Tau to boost its margin to 51-75 with 5 minutes to go. Tau held off a wild Le Mans rally to add a big road win.

Koffi opened fire for the hosts with a hook shot, but Tau needed only a few second to tie the game on a bank shot by Scola. Le Mans was looking for easy baskets inside by taking advantage of its physical advantage and wound up with a pair of dunks by Campbell and Koffi to take a 9-7 lead after 4 minutes. Scola, who was unstoppable in the beginning, and Rakocevic, the only perimeter player scoring for the guests, led Tau back and then it was Planinic's turn with 4 points in a row to give Tau a 14-17 lead with three minutes remaining in the quarter. Although Le Mans kept pushing in the paint, a couple of three-pointers by Rakocevic and Mirza Teletovic maintained the guests' short lead. Another three by Nicevic, followed by a pair of free throws by Rakocevic closed the first period with Tau leading 25-27.

Kenny Gregory - Le MansThe guests started at full throttle after the break, as Splitter and Planinic ignited a 0-5 run that forced Vincent Collet to call for an early timeout. The one who best understood the coach's orders was Nicevic, who brought Le Mans within 29-32 with a pair of baskets. Tau reacted quickly and enlarged the gap with a nice move by Tiago Splitter and a corner triple from by Erdogan for a 29-37 edge midway through the second period. The hosts were unable to break the suffocating Tau defense, which put a lot of pressure on the ball. Nicolas Batum and Yannick Bokolo awakened Le Mans with a nice layup and two-handed dunk, respectively, which were followed by a jumper by a Bogavac to get the hosts within 36-42 with 3 minutes to go. Tau boss Velimir Perasovic answered quickly by putting Scola and Rakocevic back on court, fueling a 4-8 run that allowed TAU to keep a double-digit margin at halftime, 40-50.

Tyson Wheeler feed Campbel for an uncontested dunk and Gregory scored a nice layup off the dribble to reduce the gap to 44-50, as Tau struggled on offense. The first Tau basket of the second half came after 2 minutes on a jumper by Rakocevic, but the hosts were back already in the game. Bogavac went for a three and Koffi ended a fastbreak with a two-handed dunk, which got Le Mans thinking that the comeback was possible. However Tau found the way to remain calm, thanks to a couple of layups by Planinic and Rakocevic. Scola increased the gap and Collet asked for a timeout with his team trailing 52-60. Splitter took over in the following minutes, leading Tau to a 56-66 lead at the end of the third period.

Le Mans tried to play up-tempo basketball to quickly reduce the gap, but Tau managed to take control thanks to a three-pointer by Erdogan, which gave the visitors a 15-point lead with 6 minutes to go. Collet tried to change the balance with a 2-3 zone deffense and it worked. Gregory and Nicevic combined for 8 straight points to get Le Mans within 69-75 with 3 minutes to go, forcing Tau to take an urgent timeout. Bogavac made the score tighter with a fast break layup, starting a short period in which both teams exchanged baskets. Le Mans trailed by only four, 73-77, with one minute remaining, but Gregory missed a three pointer that gave Tau the chance to kill the game. Le Mans's tough deffense forced a shot clock violation for Tau with less than 40 seconds to go, but the final answer came from Planinic, who stole a key ball on the following possession and allowed Tau to keep the lead for good. Tau won the free-throw battle down the stretch to take the final decision, 76-79.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Natxo Mendaza, Vitoria
Referees: ZAVLANOS, NIKOLAOS (GRE), DRABIKOVSKY, VOLODYMR (UKR), LOPES, LUIS (POR)
Attendance: 5300
By Quarter1234
Le Mans25151620
Tau Ceramica27231613
End of Quarter1234
Le Mans25405676
Tau Ceramica27506679
Head coach: COLLET, VINCENT
Le Mans
# 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 BOGAVAC, NEBOJSA 28:45 15 3/5 3/8   1 2 3     1     2 1 9
5 GREGORY, KENNY 32:00 18 7/13 1/2 1/1 1 7 8 3   2 1 2 2 3 20
6 AMAGOU, PAPE PHILIPPE 12:15   0/1 0/2     1 1     1     2   -5
7 KOFFI, ALAIN 19:00 8 3/5   2/2 1 3 4 1         3 2 10
8 BATUM, NICOLAS 8:00 3 1/1   1/2       1 1 1     1 1 3
9 BOKOLO, YANNICK 19:15 2 1/1 0/1     1 1 4 2 4     1 1 4
10 NICEVIC, SANDRO 25:30 18 7/10 1/1 1/1 1 2 3 1   1 1   4 4 19
11 ADJIWANOU, FREDERIC 2:15 2     2/2                 1 1 2
12 CEL, AARON DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 CAMPBELL, ERIC 33:15 10 3/6   4/5 5 6 11 5 2 1 1 1   4 27
20 WHEELER, TYSON 19:45     0/3     2 2 7   5       2 3
Team           3   3               3
Totals 200:00 76 25/42 5/17 11/13 12 24 36 22 5 16 3 3 16 19 95
59.5% 29.4% 84.6%
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: PERASOVIC, VELIMIR
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 25:15 17 7/11   3/3 4 5 9 2   1 1 1 2 6 27
5 PRIGIONI, PABLO 24:15 5   1/3 2/2   3 3 5 1 1     1 2 12
7 CILLA, JESUS 4:00               1         1    
8 RAKOCEVIC, IGOR 31:00 14 3/7 2/5 2/2   1 1 1 1 3       2 9
10 PLANINIC, ZORAN 32:00 10 4/13 0/3 2/2 6 1 7 5 3   1 1 2 2 13
11 ERDOGAN, SERKAN 28:45 13 2/4 2/7 3/3   1 1 1 1       4 2 7
12 TELETOVIC, MIRZA 14:15 3 0/1 1/2         4   1     1   3
14 PEKER, KAYA 16:15 4 1/2   2/2 2 2 4   1 1 1   3 1 6
20 ESLAVA, ARIEL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 SPLITTER, TIAGO 24:15 13 6/9   1/1   3 3   1 1   1 5 1 8
Team           2 1 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 79 23/47 6/20 15/15 14 17 31 19 8 9 3 3 19 16 87
48.9% 30% 100%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

COLLET, VINCENT
Le Mans
"We played 40 minutes with a great heart, but every time we could close the gap from Vitoria like in the third quarter, 54-52, we made turnovers to give them easy baskets end again in the last minutes at minus 4 with the ball for us we turned the ball over again. Each mistake costs too much against such a team. We can talk probably of lack of experience."
PERASOVIC, VELIMIR
Tau Ceramica
"We started playing too soft defense, we let them take six offensive rebounds and, although we were very accurate in shooting, I was not happy because the game was wide open. We improved in the second quarter and amassed a good lead, which we retained until the last five minutes. At that point we stopped playing, when we saw ourselves up by 15 we committed a lot of mistakes. We didn't play calm, we played slow and static basketball, we played only to let the clock run. We let Le Mans run the court and make fastbreaks and easy baskets. They got closer in the end but I think that our win was never in serious danger. I think this should be useful for us in the future as a lesson. We must be happy because we closed the first leg with a 6-1 balance, everyone would have signed this before the season started, especially when we had to play four games on the road."

Players

NICEVIC, SANDRO
Le Mans
"We started very well the game, but with too much respect for the team we had in front of us. We showed like usually a big aggressivity in defense but in offense we were not at the level of this game. We lost too many balls and they controled the rhythm very well at the end of the game even when we came back in the last minutes."
PRIGIONI, PABLO
Tau Ceramica
"I have good feelings after this win, especially because we managed to collect two wins on the road in a row. Although these games could be considered as easy games, that's not true at all. We won the last two games without playing big games, but we played serious and I think we made a good job and ended the first leg in the best way possible. Maybe we relaxed in the end, thinking it was already over, but the other team is playing for the win too, they didn't surrender and pushed hard to react and win the game. I think our problems came because if these two factors."
ERDOGAN, SERKAN
Tau Ceramica
"It was a very tough game for us tonight, but I think we made a good job. We were not so good in the last 2-3 minutes, but I think it isn't so unusual. We used eight players for the most of the game, because these ones are the players that have to play and win our next game in the domestic competition. It's another win, we needed it so I'm happy for that. We must keep practicing and playing hard to keep winning. Personally I feel good, but that's not important now, the important thing is how I feel the next one."
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