| A proud semifinalist from a year ago, Hemofarm Stada, ended its winless status and rejoined the Group B race when it turned back visiting Le Mans 88-76 on Tuesday with a barrage of great long-distance shooting. The result left both teams with 1-3 records and in third place, although Hemofarm's margin of victory would give it an advantage over Le Mans if they tied head-to-head at the end of the regular season. Seven different players shared in Hemofarm's game-long 14-for-23 marksmanship from three-point distance. That shooting spree proved the difference as Le Mans finished 7 of 18 from downtown after missing every three-point try in the first half. Hemofarm started shooting well from the opening tipoff, led 28-21 after 10 minutes, soon took its first double-digit lead and peaked with a 21-point advantage in the middle of the fourth quarter. Veteran captain Bojan Krstovic led five Hemofarm scores in double figures with 16 points. Goran Jagodnik added 15, Jarod Stevenson and Miljan Pavkovic 13 each and Boban Marjanovic 10 for the winners. Pavkovic and Stefan Markovic combined for 13 assists, while the whole Le Mans team had only 8. The visitors were led in scoring by Dewarick Spencer with 27 points, while Marc Salyers pumped in 19 and Antoine Diot 13.
Salyers got Le Mans going with a three-point play, but soon enough big Marjanovic dunked for Hemofarm's first lead, 4-3. Krstovic and Stevenson quickly expanded on that, opening a 15-9 lead on the former's dunk. Krstovic's next shot came with a free throw for an 18-12 advantage to which Jagodnik quickly added a three-pointer. A couple more three-point baskets-with-free throws by Salyers and Spencer kept Le Mans in shouting distance until Thierry Rupert's free throws drew the guests within 23-19. Jagodnik, again, and Stevenson from the arc finished off Hemofarm's high-scoring first quarter with their team in front 28-21. Stevenson stayed sharp with a triple early in the second quarter that provided the first double-digit lead, 33-22. That quickly lengthened to 37-22 as Milan Macvan and Milos Borisov added their first points. Le Mans finally responded with 7 consecutive points between Salyers and Diot, whose free throw soon cut the difference to 39-32. That, however, provoked a response of back-to-back triples from Borislov and Marko Sutalo, who came back to hit one more shot from downtown for a 51-37 halftime score - by which time Hemofarm had made 8 three-pointers and Le Mans none.
Krstovic was back with 4 points right after halftime to boost Hemofarm to a high lead so far of 56-39. Le Mans had to react, and did with 5 points in a row from Batista and Spencer at 56-44, but Hemofarm got all of them back from Marjanovic at the line and in the paint. Spencer tried to move Le Mans closer now, but Stevenson re-started Hemofarm's three-point assault. That seemed to spark something in the guests, however, as Spencer and Diot answered from deep before the third quarter ended with Hemofarm still in charge at 65-52. The hosts went back to their money shot for the fourth quarter. Jagodnik struck first from the arc. Then, after his 4 previous misses from that distance, Pavkovic became the rifleman with twin bombs to balloon the lead to its highest, 76-55. Less than 7 minutes remained, but Le Mans didn't give up. After Salyers had made his first three-pointer, he and Spencer got fouled attempting triples and went 6 for 6 at the foul line. Then Spencer hit from long-range and added a layup to finish a 0-13 run with his team within single digits, 76-68. Krstovic steadied Hemofarm with a basket and Jagodnik upped the difference at the foul line. When Parkovic hit his third triple of the quarter with just under 2 minutes left - and then Macvan copied him! - it meant an 86-70 difference. Le Mans kept firing, with triples by Spencer and Diot in the final minute, but it was too late to stop the game-long assault that gave Hemofarm its first victory of the Eurocup regular season.
Monday, December 14, 2009