Pamesa shook off its first Euroleague loss and took a huge step forward in Group C by becoming the first team from Spain all season to beat Tau Ceramica, 84-71, in Valencia, Spain on Wednesday night. Pamesa now leads Group C with a 5-1 record, waiting for Efes Pilsen's game against Idea Slask in Wroclaw on Thursday. Tau falls to 3-3, assuring itself at least a fifth-place tie. Dimos Dikoudis scored 16 of his 23 points in the final quarter to keep Pamesa's hard-earned second-half leads secure. Antoine Rigaudeau had 22 points and 4 steals, Dejan Tomasevic had 12 points on 6-for-9 field goals and 8 rebounds, and Fabricio Oberto chipped in 11 for the winners. Jose Antonio Paraiso was the defensive ace for Pamesa, helping to hold Tau scorer Andres Nocioni to just 8 points on 2-for-11 shooting. The guests were led by Arvydas Macijauskas, with 19 points, while Sergi Vidal and Jose Manuel Calderon had 11 points apiece. Tau guard Pablo Prigioni was ejected in the third quarter and Pamesa used that possession to score 5 points and escape from Tau for good.
Pamesa had a strong start, as Tomasevic dunked and Rigaudeau followed him with a basket. But soon Tau found its rhythm, as Macijauskas drilled a mid-range jumper and Nocioni a layup to tie, 4-4. With players on both teams started exchanging baskets, it was clear that Macijauskas was unstoppable. He made 2 free throws and a three-pointer to give Tau its first lead, 8-9. Alejandro Montecchia answered with a layup, but Macijauskas drilled another three, giving him 10 of Tau's first 12 points. Rigaudeau picked up a second foul, but Pamesa coach Paco Olmos kept him on the court, and was rewarded when the veteran scored 4 points to keep Pamesa within 16-17. Pamesa then looked for its dynamic frontcourt and found it, as back-to-back baskets by Tomasevic and Fabricio Oberto ignited a 7-0 run in which Rigaudeau made his first three-pointer for a 23-17 home lead. Rigaudeau dropped 2 more free throws before going to the bench with 11 points to a standing ovation. But Tau managed to come back quickly at the free throw line, as Pablo Prigioni, Tiago Splitter and Kornel David made 5 of 6 foul shots to bring the guests within 26-24 after 10 minutes.
Pamesa tried to play with quick transitions to find an open man. As such, Montecchia and Victor Luengo each drilled one from downtown to push the local lead to 32-24 as Tau went scoreless through 3 minutes of the second quarter. Once the visitors started to score, they only managed to exchange baskets for a while, as Jose Antonio Paraiso was doing a great defensive job on Nocioni. A basket by Montecchia pushed Pamesa's lead to double digits, 38-28, forcing Tau coach Dusko Ivanovic to call timeout. Afterwards, however, Tomasevic controlled the boards and was unstoppable in the offensive end. Only in the final minutes of the quarter could Tau pull off a 3-10 run, including 4 points by Calderon and 3 by Splitter, to make it a five-point game, 43-38. However, Dikoudis made a three-point play to lift Pamesa ahead 46-38 at halftime. Pamesa was then outrebounding Tau 17-11 and had the visitors' big men in deep foul trouble, as Splitter had 4 fouls, Betts 3 and David 2.
After the break, a layup by Sergi Vidal ignited an 0-6 opening run for Tau, in which Nocioni made a jumper and David 2 free throws, for a 46-44 scoreboard. Pamesa committed 3 turnovers in 2 minutes against the improved Tau defense. Soon, however, Rigaudeau found Tomasevic for an easy basket, and Oberto found his way to the hoop for 4 consecutive points to help Pamesa stretch its advantage to 52-46. That's when Prigioni picked up a foul in midcourt, and his complaints turned iut into a disqualifying technical foul. Rigaudeau made both free throws, and drilled a three-pointer on the following possession to give Pamesa a sudden 11-point lead, 57-46. Macijauskas stepped up, scoring 4 free throws for Tau, but Rigaudeau and Dikoudis combined for 7 points to push Pamesa ahead by 14 points, 66-52, after 30 minutes.
Pamesa broke the game for good early in the fourth quarter, as Dikoudis and Rigaudeau scored back-to-back layups, giving the hosts an 18-point lead, 70-52. Dikoudis was unstoppable in the offensive end, where he added 5 consecutive points to give Pamesa a 76-54 lead. The hosts were playing with great intensity, especially on defense, with Paraiso shutting down Nocioni and all backcourt defenders teaming up to deny Macijauskas any easy shot. But Pamesa lost its momentum, and Tau fired back with a 0-11 ru in which Vidal had 4 points while Macijauskas and Betts added 3 apiece, cutting the lead to 11, 76-65. But Dikoudis would not be deterred and scored 8 more points, including 2 three-pointers, to seal the win for the hosts, 84-71.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003