Real Madrid joined a three-way tie atop the Group C standings by downing Lottomatica Roma 89-83 in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Madrid survived a thriller to improve to 2-0 and tie with Panathinaikos and Partizan Igokea for the first place in Group C. Meanwhile, Lottomatica dropped to 0-2 and needs to start winning right away to get back into the Top 16 race. Charles Smith led the winners with 23 points. Alex Mumbru added 17, Lazaros Papadopoulos and Raul Lopez each had 11 while Axel Hervelle barely missed a double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds for Madrid. Erazem Lorbek led Lottomatica with 24 points on 8-of-11 two-pointers and 2-of-2 from downtown. Roko Ukic added 19 while Jon Stefansson had 14 for the guests, that trailed 25-10 late in the first quarter. Lorbel and Ukic led the Roma comeback, as the guests managed to get a 55-57 edge and tied the game, 81-81, with under 2 minutes to go. Lopez hit a key triple and soon added free throws that sealed the outcome down the stretch.Real Madrid legends Emiliano Rodriguez and Pedro Ferrandiz were honoured by their club in a brief pre-game ceremony. Rodriguez made it to the FIBA Hall of Fame while Ferrandiz joined the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Madrid run its offense through its frontcourt early in the game, as a jump hook by Papadopoulos and a basket in the low post by Hervelle gave the hosts a 4-2 lead. Mumbru stepped up with a fast break layup and soon added free throws, as Madrid tried fullcourt pressure after free throws made. Ukic fed Roberto Gabini for a corner three-pointer but Papadopoulos scored inside and Smith dunked it for a 12-5 Madrid lead. Ukic tried to change things with an easy layup but Smith stroke twice from downtown to boost Madrid's lead to 18-7. An unstoppable Ukic joined the three-point shootout but Smith - who else? - and Mumbru allowed the hosts to make it a 15-point game, 25-10. Stefansson stepped up with a driving layup that Smith erased with free throws. A corner triple by David Hawkins and a fallaway jumper by Ukic brought Lottomatica within 29-17 after 10 minutes.
Sergi Llull stepped on court and managed to shut down Ukic while sharing the point guard duties with Kerem Tunceri. Lorbek tried to ignit the Lottomatica comeback with a layup but Llull bettered that with a three-point play. Hawkins stepped up with a layup-plus-foul while Lorbek added a layup to give Lottomatica some hope at 33-24. Roma switched to a 2-3 zone defense, while back-to-back layups by Lorbek ignited a 0-8 run in which a floating jumper by Jiacopo Giachetti got the guests within 35-32. Mumbru stepped up with a tip-in, as Madrid improved its defense. Lopez beat the shot clock buzzer with a triple from the top of the key but Hawkins answered from downtown to keep Roma close. Gregor Fucka and Giachetti added back-to-back layups and even when Lopez stroke from downtown, Lorbek beat the buzzer with another triple to get Roma within 45-42 at halftime.
Both teams struggled to score early in the second half, Hervelle was the only one to score for 2 minutes, giving Madrid a 47-42 edge. Madrid found a go-to guy in Reyes, who followed a put-back layup with an acrobatic basket to extend the hosts' lead to 51-44. Mumbru scored off an inbound steal by Lopez but Ukic took over with a triple to keep Lottomatica close, 53-47. Lorbek stayed unstoppable down low and soon hit a one from downtown for a 53-52 Roma deficit. Mumbru made free throws but a corner triple by Stefansson and a driving layup by Giachetti completed the Lottomatica comeback, 55-57. Mumbru hit more foul shots and Papadopoulos added a left-handed jump hook to make Lottomatica call timeout at 59-57. Smith banked in a shot but another triple by Stefansson tied the game again, 62-62. Smith scored twice coming off the baseline to give Madrid a 66-64 edge after 30 minutes.
Papadopoulos scored Fucka eraly in the fourth quarter while Smith added a power layup to give Madrid some fresh air at 70-64. Madrid kept its momentum going, as Tunceri buried a three-pointer and even Stefansson answered with a long two-pointer, Smith nailed another bomb from downtown to make the hosts restore a double-digit lead, 76-66, with 7 minutes to go. Ukic tried to get Roma back in the game with a three-pointer, but Papadopoulos fed Hervelle for a reverse dunk. Lorbek stepped up with a tip-in while Fucka and Ukic took over with consecutive layups to get Roma within 78-75. Mumbru fired in a three-pointer but free throws by Stefansson and Lorbek got Roma even closer, 81-79, with 2 minutes remaining. Papadopoulos picked up an offensive foul while Ukic's driving layup tied it at 81-81. Lopez nailed a key triple, Hawkins missed in the other end while Reyes made a foul shot for a 85-81 Madrid edge with 31.1 seconds to go. Ukic committed a turnover while Tunceri sealed the outcome with more free throws, allowing Madrid to stay unbeaten in the competition.