| Cibona registered its first win in the 2009-10 Euroleague regular season by downing Zalgiris 64-52 in Zagreb, Croatia in Group A on Wednesday. Both teams tie at the bottom part in this group, each with a 1-3 record. Marko Tomas led the winners with 14 points. Vedran Vukusic added 11 while Marin Rozic and Luksa Andric each had 10 for Cibona. Mirza Begic led Zalgiris with 14 points. Travis Watson barely missed a double-double, 9 points and 12 rebounds, for the guests. Cibona had a strong start but Marcus Brown and Marty Pocius allowed Zalgiris to tie the game, 16-16, after 10 minutes. Watson dominated the boards and Zalgiris managed to get a 29-30 edge late in the first quarter. Jamont Gordon hit 4-of-4 free throws to make Cibona regain the lead, 35-31, at halftime. Andric and Tomas fueled a 10-0 run that allowed Cibona to get the lead for good, 47-38. Watson singlehandedly brought Zalgiris within 49-46 early in the fourth quarter but outstanding defense and an inspired Tomas helped Cibona to seal the outcome, 61-48, minutes before the final buzzer.
Marin Rozic got Cibona going with a quick basket but Brown answered with a corner triple for a 2-3 Zalgiris lead. Cibona tried to open the court early in the game to look for one-on-one situations and Andric shined with a backdoor layup. Zalgiris tried to find Watson and Begic down low, trying to put Andric and Vukusic into foul trouble. Begic scored down low but Vukusic struck twice from downtown for a 10-5 Cibona edge. Begic kept pacing Zalgiris with a huge block on Gordon and a baseline jumper. Gordon and Brown traded jumpers but a second-chance layup by Andric kept the hosts ahead, 14-9. The guests could not guest Watson involved and called timeout to adjust its offense. Zalgiris kept struggling to score until Watson stepped up with a put-back layup. Antonio Graves downed a three-pointer, as Cibona kept dominating the game tempo with outstanding defense. Zalgiris found a go-to guy in Pocius, who beat the shot clock with a fallaway triple and added free throws to tie the game, 16-16, after 10 minutes.
Begic stayed unstoppable with a put-back layup early in the second quarter but Bojan Bogdanovic matched it with a fast break dunk. Mantas Kalnietis and Tomas exchanged three-pointers while Watson had started to dominate the boards. Bogdanovic kept pacing Cibona with a wide open triple, good for a 25-21 lead. Zalgiris tried to play more up-tempo and find Begic around the basket. He followed a dunk in transition with free throws to tie the game again, 25-25. Rozic sank a six-meter jumper, as Cibona tried to diversify its offense with many players ready to contribute. Zalgiris kept struggling to score until Adas Juskevicius took over with a coast-to-coast layup. Rozic soon added free throws but Salenga answered from downtown to put the guests back ahead, 29-30. Gordon sank a jumper off a Cibona timeout but Watson's rebounds had allowed Zalgiris to get the game tempo. Free throws by Gordon, however, allowed the hosts to get a 35-31 lead at halftime.
Kalnietis sank a floating layup in transition immediately after the break, as Zalgiris tried to play more up-tempo now. Begic soon added an easy basket for a 35-35 tie. Bogdanovic took over with a power layup, as Cibona tried to improve its intensity with Graves and Gordon together on court. Begic shined with a jump hook, as Zalgiris was way more aggressive in defense, with Watson and Begic intimidating the entire Cibona frontcourt. A free throw by Pocius put the guests back ahead, 37-38, midway through the third quarter. Vukusic rescued Cibona with a reverse layup and Andric also scored around the basket to give the hosts some fresh air at 42-38. Tomas provided a highlight with a seven-meter bomb that made Zalgiris call timeout at 45-38. Andric capped a 10-0 Cibona run with a fast break dunk that Brown erased with a driving basket. Watson scored twice in the paint to bring Zalgiris back to life, 47-44, after 30 minutes.
Rozic scored again early in the fourth quarter but a jump hook by Watson kept the guests as close as 49-46. Cibona kept powering the offensive board and Rozic shined again with a driving layup, as Cibona tried to play more aggressive around the baskets. A three-point play by Vukusic put Cibona way ahead, 54-46, with 7 minutes to go. Pocius took over with a wild driving layup but Watson went to the bench with 4 fouls and Zalgiris could not readjust its defense. Tomas downed a three-pointer while Andric added a power layup that sealed the outcome, 59-48. Watson returned to the floor off a Zalgiris timeout but it was already too little, too late for the guests. Cibona kept dominating the game with outstanding defense and allowed their fans to celebrate that their team rejoined the race to reach the Top 16!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009