Avoiding any slip in a dangerous group, Benetton reached its first Euroleague win this season, defeating Opel Skyliners 93-60 at home in Treviso, Italy on Wednesday. Benetton now has a 1-1 record in Group C, where only CSKA and Tau Ceramica are unefeated after two weeks, and play each other next week. Opel's record dropped to 0-2. An incredible 33-5 run that bridged the last two quarters boosted Benetton to the big victory. Ramunas Siskauskas led four Benetton scorers in double figures with 21 points. Matteo Soragna added 14, Paccelis Morlende nailed 13 and Denis Marconato posted a double-double with more rebounds, 12, than points, 11. Tyrone Ellis led all scorers with 29 points and Chris Williams added 16 more for the Skyliners.
Marconato scored the first basket of the night after pulling an offensive rebound, then he blocked Opel's first shot attempt. His turnover, however, sent Ellis flying downcourt with his team's first basket after 2 minutes. Amid generally poor shooting, Marcus Goree pumped up the crowd with a dunk. Benetton increased its defensive pressure to find easy points, as Massimo Bulleri's three-pointer staked a 13-6 lead for the hosts. Siskauskas soon capped an 11-0 run for the 17-6 advantage for Benetton. Skyliners had problems getting to the basket and scored just on the buzzer to fix the scoreboard at 17-8 after 10 minutes.
The guests shot better to start the second quarter, with Ellis burying back-to-back triples in a 2-10 run to within 22-18 after 15 minutes of play. At 22-21, Spiros Panteliadis missed a free throw that could have tied it for Opel, and Benetton found a three-point-play by Marconato to move up 25-22. Ellis missed another free throw and Siskauskas beat the Skyliners zone-press to extend the lead to 28-23. A soft turnaround jumper by Goree, a former Skyliner, lit Benetton's fuse and soon Morlende was dunking off a steal to secure Benetton's 35-25 advantage at halftime.
Williams started the third period with 6 straight points to boost Skyliners back within 35-31. Benetton went scoreless still as a free throw by Malick Badiane drew Opel as close as 35-32, but Marconato returned to score an offensive rebound. That was important psychologically because Ellis now drilled another three that made it 37-35. Now a jumper by Soragna and a reverse lay-up from Siskauskas made it 41-35, and soon Benetton's 3-2 zone defense stopped Opel cold. Uros Slokar pushed Benetton's run to 11-0 with a shot from downton that made the score 48-35. Ellis scored another three-pointer, but easy baskets by Bulleri increased home team's lead to 57-38 after 30 minutes.
To start the final quarter, Benetton extended its zone defense to full court and its run to 33-5. The result was a 71-40 advantage early in the final quarter. The outcome was no longer in doubt. Morlende scored a triple to surpass the 30-point margin, 76-45, and in the final minutes the teams exchanged baskets without influencing a well-deserved win by Benetton.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004