In a dramatic ending, Snaidero Udine rolled into the elimination rounds from Group B by rallying to beat Anwil 84-88 on the road in Wloclawek, Poland on Tuesday. Udine advanced with a hero, too, as Kirstaps Valters exploded for 36 points including 5 in a row in the next-to-last minute after his team had fallen behind 83-80. Silvio Gigena made it a 0-7 Udine run with a layup and the visitors didn't look back until they had advanced with a 5-3 record. Anwil fell to 2-4 and virtual elimination. Valters not only scored 36 points, but tied a ULEB Cup record by drilling 8 three-pointers among 12 attempts, not to mention pulling 6 rebounds and making 5 assists. Michele Antonutti followed for the winners with 12 points, Jacobs Jaacks 11 and Silvio Gigena 10. Anwil went down fighting behind Otis Hill and his 23 points, while Gatis Jahovics and Andrzej Pluta poured in 19 each. Udine's incredible 17-for-36 three-point shooting proved just to much for Anwil to overcome, however.
The game started with a flurry of three-pointers as Antonutti opened the scoring, but Pluta and Wiktor Grudzinski answered him with triples from the corner as Anwil led 6-3. Christian di Giuliomaria cut the gap by scoring from the baseline for Udine and then the team exchanged baskets for awhile. Pluta hit its third three-pointer and Hill added a pair of layups to help Anwil escape 18-12 and force a Udine timeout, but the same advantage held at the end of the first quarter. Udine got back into the game thanks to the incredible Valters, whose three-pointers soon cut the difference to 27-24. Zbigniew Bialek answered from downtown for Anwil, but Valters hit another bomb to make it 30-29. Marc Dickel got to the free-throw line for Anwil, but Kabongo Mutombo erased that effort with a triple off the bench for Udine. Hill, with 3 points in a row, let Anwil escape again, 37-32, but again Valters was ready with a shot from the arc, his fifth, after which Joel Zachetti made a layup to tie, 37-37. A minute later, the guests finally took the lead on Valters's sixth triple at 39-40. But Jahovic closed the half hitting his own bomb from downtown, so Anwil regained a 42-40 lead at the break.
Pluta opened the second half with a jumper, which Valters answered with 6 points in a row as Udine took another lead, 44-46. Jahovic and Jaacks exhanged baskets before Antonutti hit from the arc, too, boosting Unide's lead to 47-52. The advantage was maintained only until Hill started his show. Anwil's center scored 8 points in a row and by the 28th minute had cut the difference to 3 points, 58-61. Udine took a time out, and after it Gigena made a layup. Hill and Bialek tried to keep Anwil ahead, but back came Valters to score 5 points in a row and again put his team up, 62-67, after three quarters. This margin was maintained through several minutes of the fourth quarter. Anwil tried to get back into the game with 4 points in a row by Jahovic that made it 68-72, although most were erased on a triple by Jaacks in the 33rd minute. Over the next 3 minutes, Udine struggled offensively while Anwil had 6-0 run and afters a dunk by Jahovic regained a lead at 76-75. Not even a Udine timeout helped, because Pluta and Dickel downed free throws to keep Anwil up 80-75. Udine again asked for timeout, and shortly after, Dickel was fouled out for Anwil, a sign of trouble. Soon, Gigena scored 5 points in a row, including a triple, and in the 38th minute, Anwil led by only 81-80. Hill popped off the bench to add a layup to the difference for the hosts, but the answer that came was decisive. Valters buried his eighth triple, tying the most by any player in the competition's history, and then he and Gigena quickly added baskets to make it 83-87. Jahovics got a free throw in for Anwil, but it was too little to spark a new rally. Udine was going to the next round and Anwil was out of chances.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006