| Montepaschi Siena stayed in the race to win Group B by downing Zalgiris 100-93 at home on Wednesday. Montepaschi improved to 6-1 and will tie for first place with either Panathinaikos or Regal FC Barcelona, who face each other tomorrow, at the end of this round. Meanwhile, Zalgiris dropped to 0-7 and is all but mathematically out of the Top 16 race in this group. Henry Domercant paced the winners with 21 points on 4-for-4 three-pointers. Ksistof Lavrinovic contributed 19, Rimantas Kaukenas added 17, Terrell McIntyre got 14 while Romain Sato had 11 for Montepaschi. Jonas Maciulis led Zalgiris with 21 points. Mantas Kalnietis added 20 while Loren Woods had 17 for the guests. Woods, Kalnietis and Maciulis allowed Zalgiris to get its last lead, 18-19, late in the first quarter. It didn't last long, however, as Montepaschi got its trademark offense rolling in the second quarter. Kaukenas, an unstoppable Lavrinovic and a buzzer-beating triple by Domercant allowed the hosts to boost their margin to 57-40 at halftime. Zalgiris rallied after the break, as Maciulis, Kalnietis and an outstanding Woods got the guests within 66-61 after 28 minutes. Domercant, Sato and Kaukenas stepped up to make Montepaschi seal the outcome midway through the fourth quarter, as Zalgiris rallied only in the final 3 minutes.
Sato got Zalgiris going with a layup but Kalnietis immediately answered from downtown for a 2-3 Zalgiris lead. Benjamin Eze and Woods traded layups, as Montepaschi tried to adjust its defense in the early going. Shaun Stonerook scored in the paint while McIntyre added a three-pointer to give the hosts a 9-5 lead. Maciulis stepped up with a power layup that Domercant matched with a mid-range jumper. Dainius Salenga took over with a power basket that Eze improved with a three-point play, good for a 14-9 Montepaschi edge. Kalnietis scored in transition and Maciulis added a put-back layup to keep Zalgiris in the game, 14-13. McIntyre and Jankunas exchanged baskets while Woods put Zalgiris back ahead, 16-17. Stonerook scored coming off the baseline that Woods erased with an outstanding reverse layup, making Montepaschi call timeout at 18-19. Stonerook and Domercant nailed consecutive triples while Kaukenas beat the buzzer with a close jumper for a 26-19 Montepaschi edge after 10 minutes.
Kaukenas kept pacing Montepaschi with a running layup early in the second quarter. Maciulis folowed a big three-pointer with a layup while a fallaway jumper by Willie Deane got Zalgiris within 29-26. Kaukenas took over with a layup-plus-foul and fed Marco Carrareto for a fast break layup. Salenga banked in a floating layup that Jankunas followed with an easy basket to keep Zalgiris within 34-31. Sato sank a triple, as Montepaschi slowly got its run-and-gun game going. Stonerook scored down low, as Zalgiris tried to change things with a timeout. A five-meter by McIntyre, however, gave Montepaschi its first double-digit lead, 42-32. Lavrinovic dunked it but Tadas Klimavicius took over with a smooth turnaround jumper. An unstoppable Lavrinovic stayed on fire with 4 points in a 6-0 run and then answered to Kalnietis' corner triple with a layup. Domercant beat the buzzer with a triple, good for a 57-40 Montepaschi margin at halftime.
woods sank a jumper right after the break, as Zalgiris tried a zone defense now. Domercant easily beat with with a layup that Woods matched with free throws to keep the guests within 59-44. Sato and Maciulis traded triples while Kalnietis took over with an acrobatic layup to give Zalgiris some hope at 62-50. Montepaschi missed open shots now while Woods picked up a loose ball to put it in. Montepaschi called timeout and Domercant struck from downtown but Salenga hit a turnaround jumper while Kalnietis brought Zalgiris within single digits, 65-56. Montepaschi kept missing open shots against Zalgiris' effective zone defense. Meanwhile, Maciulis buried another three-pointer while Kalnietis added a floating layup to get the guests back in the game, 66-61. McIntyre shined with a backdoor layup while Domercant followed a jumper with a running triple to give the hosts some fresh air, 73-61. Free throws by Maciulis kept Zalgiris within 73-63 after 30 minutes.
Sato and Lavrinovic made free throws right at the start of the fourth quarter, as Montepaschi used Kaukenas as point guard early in this period. Zalgiris answered by using twin playmakers - Deane and Sarunas Vasiliauskas, who made foul shots for a 77-65 deficit. Lavrinovic stepped up with an easy basket and soon dunked it in transition for a 81-66 Montepaschi margin. Eurelijus Zukauskas tried to ignit the guests' comeback and Maciulis took over with a wild power layup for a 82-70 deficit. Kaukenas scored in penetration and soon nailed a triple to seal the outcome, 87-72, midway through this period. Maciulis kept trying to keep Zalgiris alive and Jankunas added a layup but it was too little, too late for the guests. Montepaschi will keep fighting to become a top-seeded team in the Top 16 Draw, since Zalgiris will have to keep looking for its first Euroleague win this season.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008