| To give its fans something to remember, Anwil Wloclawek was able to exit the Eurocup with its first victory by beating Caserta of Italy 81-71 on Tuesday in Poland. The game had no ramifications in the Group H standings, which had already been determined. But the hosts, who improved to 1-5, had reason to feel good about stopping a team heading to the Last 16. Caserta finished 3-3 and had clinched second place a week earlier. Paul Miller led the winners with 17 points and Darryl Thompson added 13, while Chris Thomas had 10 and Nikola Jovanovic scored 9 and grabbed 7 boards. Caserta was paced by Timmy Bowers, with 22 points, Luca Garri with 17 and 7 rebounds, and Ebi Ere, who scored 10.
Both teams started aggressively, with Garri and Andrzej Pluta trying three-pointers and missing before Aaron Doornekamp and Pluta hit from beyond the arc for a 7-7 score. Garri and Timmy Bowers went to work inside for the visitors, while Wloclawek was content shooting from the perimeter, as Darryl Thompson hit another there. Bowers was all over the floor, also scoring a triple for a 10-14 score. Looking for a reaction, Anwil opted to tighten the knots on defense, which fueled a 5-0 run to close the quarter as the hosts forced Doornekamp and Lucasz Koszarek into turnovers to take a 17-16 first-quarter lead. Ere, the previous week’s hero, finally scored his first basket, a triple, to start the second quarter, putting his team back on top. Eric Hicks answered with 5 consecutive points for the hosts before Thompson added a layup, Tomasz Celej dunked an offensive rebound and Miller added a layup for a 31-22 Anwil lead. Ere took matters into his own hands then as Caserta showed good balance with an inside-outside attack, though only hitting 45% of their shots and losing the first half's rebounding battle, 14-16. As Caserta mustered a 0-8 run and 33-35 lead entering the break, Anwil reached it wondering about its chances at any victory.
Miller answered the call to start the second half with an emphatic dunk and a layup to put Anwil back in front. Thomas also got into the scoring mix, making shots and grabbing boards to take command of the game. Eric Williams and Bowers banged some for Caserta, but Davis showed off his all-around skills with a triple that all of a sudden made it 42-37 in favor of the hosts. With Anwil attacking the paint and the rim, Caserta looked to perimeter shooting for points, and effectively stretched the defense with an Ere three-pointer, though Thompson converted a pair of baskets and Pluta a jumper, extending the lead to 54-47. Bowers and Hicks traded free throws, but it was Koszarek scoring from beyond the arc who made it 57-52 with a quarter to go. Thompson and Garri traded layups to start the last quarter, but the game quickly tightened. It took 2 minutes for Thomas to score again on a driving layup. Garri stepped up for Caserta in crunch time, nailing a three-pointer to make it 61-59. The visitors kept aggressive, as Bowers scored on a dunk and another Garri basket tied it at 63-63. But Jovanovic then hit a three-pointer and Anwil's defense forced 2 Caserta turnovers. With Jovanovic assuming responsibilities and driving for a 72-65 lead, it was Martin Colussi and Garri again scoring field goals to make it a one possession game with over a minute left. Thomas hit a layup to make it 74-69 and Jovanovic added another before Colussi scored at 76-71. But Caserta was out of time and forced to foul. Anwil saw their chance and did not miss, even adding a Pluta triple for a more enjoyable double-digit victory, the hosts' first and last of this season's Eurocup.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010