Top 16 Round 4 - March 08, 2007 CET: 20:45 Local time: 20:45 - PALAVERDE

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
0-0 Regular Season 0-0
10-7 Overall 9-8

Referees

Crew Chief
BACHAR, SHMUEL, Israel
Referee
VOREADIS, LAZAROS, Greece
Umpire
KOLAR, ROMAN, Slovenia

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
72.7 Points 72.5
31.9 Rebounds 32.0
9.2 O. Rebounds 8.5
22.6 D. Rebounds 23.5
13.9 Assists 13.1
14.6 Steals 9.9
2.2 Blocks 2.8
13.8 Turnovers 17.6
52.0 % 2PT 52.2 %
36.5 % 3PT 35.0 %
71.3 % FT 69.1 %
83.9 Index 76.9

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
13.2 / Goree Points 12.5 / Rodriguez
6.6 / Goree Rebounds 4.8 / SANTIAGO, DANIEL
2.4 / Nelson OR 1.5 / Pietrus
5.1 / Goree DR 3.7 / SANTIAGO, DANIEL
4.5 / Zisis Assists 2.9 / Rodriguez
2.2 / Lyday Steals 1.5 / Welsch
0.8 / Goree Blocks 0.8 / Pietrus
2.2 / Zisis Turnovers 2.7 / Rodriguez
63.3 % / Nelson 2PT 64.5 % / Pietrus
53.2 % / MORDENTE, MARCO 3PT 43.3 % / Welsch
82.1 % / Zisis FT 81.5 % / SANCHEZ, PEPE
16.9 / Goree Index 12.9 / SANTIAGO, DANIEL

THE TAKE

A big Group G showdown is set for Thursday in Treviso, Italy, where Benetton hosts Unicaja in a pivotal game whose winner will get an inside track toward the Quarterfinal Playoffs. Both teams are tied for first place in the group with Dynamo Moscow, each with a 2-1 record. The winner between Benetton and Unicaja, therefore, will at least share first place - and could be alone there depending on Dynamo's result against winless Aris - with just two Top 16 games left. In their first meeting, Unicaja beat Benetton 72-61 in Malaga, Spain behind 14 points from Carlos Jimenez (6.6 ppg., 4.6 rpg.). For Benetton, Marcus Goree (13.2 ppg., 6.6 rpg., 1.5 spg.) had 24 points and earned Top 16 Week 1 co-MVP honors in that game. Unicaja point guard and regular season hero Pepe Sanchez (6.9 ppg., 2.7 apg.) did not play in a Spanish League game over the weekend due to disciplinary reasons, but has rejoined the team for the game in Treviso. Meanwhile, Benetton won't have Erazem Lorbek, a forward who played also for Unicaja this season, because he is now with a third team, Lottomatica Roma. Sanchez and Carlos Cabezas (9 ppg., 2.3 apg.) will share the point guard duties while Berni Rodriguez (12.5 ppg., 41.9% 3FG, 2.9 apg.) and Jiri Welsch (9.9 ppg., 43.3% 3FG), 1.5 spg.) are set to start at both wings. Sharpshooters Marcus Faison (6.3 ppg.) and Costas Vasileadis (6.7 ppg.) are set to play a critical role in this game, too. Benetton will have to put pressure on Sanchez and Cabezas and has the right duo of playmakers, Marco Mordente (9.8 ppg., 53.2% 3FG) and Nikos Zisis (11.1 ppg., 4.5 apg.), to do so, with help from Terrell Lyday (9.8 ppg.), who can play either guard spot. Defensive ace Matteo Soragna (7.2 ppg.) will have a tough matchup with Faison, while Preston Shumpert (9.7 ppg., 57.1% 3FG) will test his scoring skills against Vasileadis. One of the key matchups for Benetton, however, will be slowing Daniel Santiago (11.1 ppg., 4.8 rpg.), as Unicaja anchors its offense in their big center. Without Lorbek in Treviso, Benetton is limited to Goree, Spencer Nelson (8.8 ppg., 6.3 rpg.) and Angelo Gigli (6.8 ppg.) around the basket. Santiago highlights a deep Unicaja frontcourt featuring power forwards Jimenez and Marko Tusek (6.3 ppg., 43.8% 3FG), defensive ace Florent Pietrus (3.6 ppg., 64.5% 2FG) and hard-nosed center Ignacio De Miguel (2.5 ppg.). Above all, the winner will take a big step towards reaching the playoffs, so expect nothing but a huge battle in Treviso on Thursday.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

BLATT, DAVID
Benetton Basket
"From now, the second half of the Top 16 round is going to begin, at this point you need to win every game you can, particularly when you are at home: now we will have two matches in front of our supporters, the first one against Unicaja which is a strong team and they are doing realy well in this Top 16 round. Despite of the situation we lived in the away game in Spain, when we came out of a hard week for the Italian Cup and Unicaja had more days to focus on that game, now we took more time to rest and to prepare this great match. We definitely need to get a better performance than the one seen in Malaga, I hope my guys will have the right spirit, mentally and phisically, to face this opponent."
SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
"The Top 16 enters its second half with quite an even situation between Benetton, Dynamo and Unicaja, despite the fact that Benetton and Dynamo have already assured themselves an advantage by having won a game away from home. These decisive games have to be played with a consciousness of their importantce and difficulty, but also with the hope of doing something great for our club, our fans and ourselves. This game in Treviso is, of course, a crucial point in our dream to reach something never before achieved in the history of the club, which would be to qualify for the Quarterfinal Playoffs. Benetton has maintained a high level of form and of play after the dip they suffered at the time of our first game. Above all on its own court, where it always seems to be in better form than on the road, this has been a dangerous team with may tactical and scoring resources, and of course, one that is rich in talent and organization."

Players

NELSON, SPENCER
Benetton Basket
"The most important thing after the win in Thessaloniki is that great part of our future is now in our hands, we don't have to let Unicaja play their kind of basketball and try to be as aggressive as we can to get a new win for the standings. When you play a close round like the Top 16 everything can happen every time, so you got to be prepared for it. We have to make one step at a time, working hard to see how to put Unicaja in trouble and win the game. They are a really good team, and at this moment they surely want to get back after the loss in the Spanish League, so we have to pay great attention."
SANTIAGO, DANIEL
Unicaja
"We have to win in Treviso because it would be a big step for us, not only in the standings of our group, but also in terms of our self-confidence. We'll have to wait and see what happens, but I believe we have a good opportunity to win this game. We'll have to pay a lot of attention to their shooting because Benetton has good outside shooters, so we'll have to play good defense and run our fastbreak, as well."
Daniel Santiago - Unicaja Unicaja took a crucial step towards reaching the Quarterfinal Playoffs in Group G by edging Benetton 76-79 in Treviso, Italy, on Thursday night. Unicaja joins Dynamo Moscow atop the Group G standings, each with a 3-1 record. Both teams face each other in Malaga, Spain, in a head-to-head clash to win this Top 16 group. Dynamo will be the Group G champion with a win, while Unicaja will clinch first place if it wins by at least 7 points. Meanwhile, Benetton dropped to 2-2 and needs to win its two remaining games to keep its hopes alive. Daniel Santiago led the winners with 23 points on 9-of-12 two-pointers. He added 8 rebounds and 5 blocked shots as he thoroughly dominated the paint. Jiri Welsch finished with 21 points, while Carlos Cabezas had 11 for Unicaja. Marcus Goree led Benetton with 20 points and Preston Shumpert posted17. Iñaki De Miguel scored 5 during a 1-11 run that saw Unicaja take a 49-59 lead late in the third quarter. However three-pointers by Marco Mordente, Shumpert, Goree and Bryant Smith against Unicaja's zone defense carried the hosts back for a 71-68 lead with less than 4 minutes to go. It all came down to the final minute, as Shumpert hit a triple to tie it at 76-76 with 48 seconds to go. But free throws by Welsch, Cabezas and Berni Rodrigiez allowed Unicaja to get a historical win down the stretch.

Goree took the initiative, first drawing a foul off Santiago for the first point of the game. Santiago returned the favor by scoring with a hook, 1-2. Shumpert drilled the game's first three, but Cabezas and Welsch had two of their own in quick succession to put Unicaja up 4-10. Angelo Gigli and Goree’s bombs responded to the inside dominance of the visitors, good for a 12-14 score. Gigli’s jumper was then followed by a two-handed Goree jam to ignit the crowd. However Santiago kept causing damage inside and tied it at 18, before going back to the foul line twice to take an 18-21 edge. Spencer Nelson scored off a nice dish by Mordente to bring Treviso within 1 after 10 minutes.

Preston Shumpert - Benetton TrevisoBoth teams started off cold in the second quarter, but Marcus Faison eventually put an end to a two-minute scoring drought. Gigli, still hot, answered to stay close as Benetton coach David Blatt took a timeout. Nelson's slam followed by a Gigli basket gave Benetton a 28-23 advantage midway through the period. Santiago found no match as he seemed to score at will and bring Unicaja right back. Terrell Lyday and Kostas Vasileiadis exchanged baskets before Welsch connected from beyond the arc and scored underneath to regain the lead for the visitors, 32-35, prompting Blatt to call for a timeout so his team could regroup. Nikos Zizis completed a three-point play with 7 seconds to go, fixing the half time score at 37-37.

Unicaja started the second half in the worst manner possible as Santiago picked up two quick fouls. Benetton didn’t do any better, losing Lyday with a strained ankle. The lead switched from side to side with Goree and the unstoppable Santiago, who remained on the court with three fouls, doing most of the damage. Carlos Jimenez hit a buzzer-beater from downtown and Welsch added to his tally to help Unicaja go up 42-48. Shumpert’s 4 points and assist to Goree tied it again, causing Unicaja coach Sergio Scariolo to call his men for a chat. It turned out to be effective as his team regained a 7-point lead thanks to a three-point play by De Miguel and a penetration move by Cabezas. Welsch and Mordente exchanged baskets before Zizis reduced the gap to -7 for the hosts entering the decisive quarter.

Berni Rodriguez - UnicajaMordente tried to ignite a come back with a three, but De Miguel answered with a reverse layup to make it 56-62. Shumpert hit as well from beyond the arc to cut the gap to 3. Matteo Soragna eventually entered the show with a jumper. Goree answered Santiago and when Zizis went through the traffic it was all square at 65 with 5 minutes on the clock. Welsch did it again to silence the crowd, only for Goree to beat the 24-second clock from 8 meters. Bryant Smith hit from downtown as well to force a Unicaja timeout at 71-68. Cabezas made an unbelievable fallback three to go in front 71-72 with 2:15 to play. After a Benetton timeout, Santiago’s hook was met by a dunk from Goree. Cabezas kept the pace to beat the shot-clock again. However, Shumpert used a Goree feed to find the three to tie it at 76-76 with 45 seconds left. Welsh drew the foul and netted only one. But Shumpert misfired and forced the home team to commit a foul. Cabezas went to the line and missed the first, but scored the second for a 2-point lead with 19 seconds on the clock. After a Benetton timeout, Zisis lost the ball. Berni Rodriguez was fouled and made one from the foul line to get a 3-point advantage. Unicaja cleverly sent the home team to the line. However, Goree had the rebound and Zisis a chance to tie it, but it wasn’t to be for the Italian champions. Unicaja went away with a crucial away win to enhance its hopes of a quarterfinal qualification.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Fabrice Turmel, Treviso
Referees: BACHAR, SHMUEL (ISR), VOREADIS, LAZAROS (GRE), KOLAR, ROMAN (SLO)
Attendance: 4122
By Quarter1234
Benetton Basket20171623
Unicaja21162319
End of Quarter1234
Benetton Basket20375376
Unicaja21376079
Head coach: BLATT, DAVID
Benetton Basket
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 LYDAY, TERRELL 20:00 7 3/6 0/3 1/1 1 3 4 2 3 2   1 1 3 9
5 SMITH, BRYANT 9:45 3   1/2   1 2 3           1 1 5
6 ZISIS, NIKOS 33:15 7 3/6 0/2 1/1   3 3 5 1 1     3 2 9
7 SORAGNA, MATTEO 23:30 2 1/3 0/2 0/2 1 2 3 2   1     3 1 -2
9 MORDENTE, MARCO 19:00 5 1/2 1/2     1 1 1 3 1     4 3 6
11 RULLO, ROBERTO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 RENZI, ANDREA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
15 GIGLI, ANGELO 24:15 9 3/3 1/3 0/2 1 1 2   1 2 1 1 2 2 6
16 SHUMPERT, PRESTON 28:00 17 3/4 3/6 2/4 2 2 4   1 1   1 3 4 15
17 NELSON, SPENCER 12:45 6 2/5 0/1 2/2 2 1 3   1 1   1 1 2 5
18 GOREE, MARCUS 29:30 20 5/8 2/2 4/6 3 1 4 2 1   1 1 4 4 22
20 CUCCAROLO, GINO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team             1 1   1           2
Totals 200:00 76 21/37 8/23 10/18 11 17 28 12 12 9 2 5 22 22 77
56.8% 34.8% 55.6%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Head coach: SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 SANCHEZ, PEPE 16:30   0/1     1 1 2   1 1     2   -1
5 RODRIGUEZ, BERNI 33:15 3 1/2   1/2 1 2 3 2         2 3 7
7 VASILEIADIS, KOSTAS 2:00 2 1/1 0/1                   1    
9 WELSCH, JIRI 34:15 21 5/6 3/4 2/4   3 3 2 1 2     2 3 22
10 CABEZAS, CARLOS 28:15 11 2/3 2/4 1/2 1   1 2         1 2 11
11 PIETRUS, FLORENT 6:30           1 1           1 1 1
15 DE MIGUEL, IGNACIO 9:00 8 3/3 0/1 2/3         1 2     4 4 5
17 TUSEK, MARKO 11:15 2 1/1 0/2     1 1 1 1     1 1 2 3
20 JIMENEZ, CARLOS 28:15 7 1/2 1/4 2/2 1 3 4 3 2 4   1 4 2 5
24 FAISON, MARCUS 5:45 2 1/2 0/1   1 1 2           1   1
25 SANTIAGO, DANIEL 25:00 23 9/12   5/7   8 8 1 1 3 5   3 5 32
Team           1 4 5   3           8
Totals 200:00 79 24/33 6/17 13/20 6 24 30 11 10 12 5 2 22 22 94
72.7% 35.3% 65%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

BLATT, DAVID
Benetton Basket
"First of all, I’d like to thank the fans for the great support they gave us. My players went as far as they could in spite of the problems there are around the team. We had our chance in the end but I think they made the big shots and we missed a couple of big ones. That’s basketball. However, as far as Euroleague is concerned, it is not over."
SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
"It has been a great game of basketball. I think we can congratulate all the players who took part in it. We played a very intense game and stayed concentrated. Every time we lost the advantage we had built we managed to get back on top and in the end I think we deserved the win."

Players

GIGLI, ANGELO
Benetton Basket
"It’s been very close, maybe we missed a little something in the end. Obviously Lyday’s injury didn’t help. I still think we can make it, we have Aris at home and the Russians away and I know we are capable of doing great games away as well."
PIETRUS, FLORENT
Unicaja
"I think we managed to play a great game throughout and I think that if we are at this stage of the competition it means we are capable of reaching the Final Four. Anyway, it was important to bounce back after our loss against Tau in the domestic league. That’s the story of our season. We always seem to bounce back after big losses."
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