Tau Vitoria is a team looking more serious by the game.
Just days after registering its biggest victory ever in the Spanish ACB League, Tau was acting like a bully again. The hosts from Vitoria, Spain didn't let visiting Cibona of Croatia breathe on Wednesday night in what should have been a testy matchup between two teams tied for third-place in Group B. Before they know what happened, the visitors were on the way out of town saddled with a 92-66 defeat.
The victory pushes Tau (4-2) up to a second place tie with AEK of Athens, which lost Wednesday at Kinder Bologna., leader of the group (5-1).
Just as it won by its widest margin of victory every in the Spanish ACB League last Saturday, a 51-point victory over Alicante, Tau set out on Wednesday to make no mistakes against Cibona, which had beaten Tau in Zagreb in the season opener.
One of the keys to the game was Tau's ability to force Cibona star Josip Sesar into foul trouble. It only took 13 minutes for Sesar to collect four fouls, not even enough time to get him out of the game and onto the bench. That left much of the work for Cibona up to forward Tunij Awojobi and point guard Arthur Lee. But not even they were enough against a Tau team whose every touch of the ball seemed blessed.
How blessed? Well, enough so to make an incredible 76 percent of its two-point shots (26 of 34) and 44 percent of its threes (8 of 18). Believe it or not, Tau was less accurate on it free throws (15 of 22, or 72 percent) than on its two-pointers.
Perhaps the key was Tau's ball movement, which accounted for a 14-3 advantage in assists early in the second half. Everybody moved the ball and everybody scored, seven players collecting between 8 and 19 points. The least of the scorers, point guard Elmer Bennett, was the most impressive distributor, of course. He had nine assists, more than the whole Cibona team.
On the receiving end of Bennett's passes were centers Victor Alexander and Fabricio Oberto, with 19 and 16 points, respectively. Swingman Laurent Foirest hit 4 of his 6 three-point attempts to end up with 16 points.
Among Cibona's big men, only Awojobi did any damage, scoring 19 points. More tellingly, his five rebounds was the most on the team. But then again with Tau shooting so well, there weren't many rebounds to get.
About the only bad news for Tau all night was that backup point guard Chris Corchiani left the court in the fourth quarter, apparently having re-injured his right ankle.
Wednesday, December 06, 2000