Cholet Basket defeated Cibona 81-65
Cholet Basket is a step closer to making the Top 16 for the first time after convincingly beating Cibona Zagreb by 81-65 Wednesday night at La Meilleraie. With the victory, Cholet improved its record to 4-5 and can still advance this week if Regal FC Barcelona beats Lietuvos Rytas on Thursday. Vule Avdalovic ran the show effectively for the French champs with 8 points and 13 assists – 1 short of the Euroleague Basketball single-game record. Sammy Mejia scored 16 points and Antywane Robinson added 15 and 7 rebounds for the winners. Claude Marquis with 11 points and Luc-Arthur Vebobe rounded out the Cholet attack. Bojan Bogdanovic, who entered the game as the Euroleague’s top scorer, paced Cibona with 16 points, Rok Stipcevic added 13, Tomislav Zubcic 12 and Jure Lalic had 11 in his Euroleague debut. The loss keeps Cibona winless and head coach Zdravko Radulovic’s men will seek their first win at home next week against L. Rytas.
Cholet had a good start thanks to Robinson’s activity around the glass and his good shooting touch form the perimeter, as he emerged as his team’s go-to guy in the first quarter with 13 of Cibona’s first 15 points and a 13-5 lead after he hit a triple. Cibona tried to establish a post game in the paint with Bogdanovic and spread the floor well with Stipcevic pushing the tempo some. The visitors were able to get some good looks, and Goran Vrbanc broke free for a three-pointer of his own, closing the gap to 17-12. But the glass was Robinson’s and Cholet’s, who ran free for a couple of layups by Mejia and Vebobe before Bogdanovic scored from beyond the arc to close the first quarter at 22-15.
Zubcic scored on a pretty three-point play to start the second quarter, for Cibona but the game seemed to slow down, with most of the scoring coming from the free throw line. With Randal Falker and Vebode showing activity and combining in the paint, Cibona looked to Zubcic and Lalic to establish a post presence at the other end. Lalic forced a couple of free throws to keep the visitors within it at 26-21. The contrast was clear in style, as Cholet preferred the open-court game, with its quick big men slashing to the basket or crashing the boards for second-chance points and Cibona opting for halfcourt sets. But Cholet still was holding advantage in the rebounding battle and taking care of the defensive end after Robinson’s first-quarter explosion. Stipcevic rebounded, ran the floor, and assisted Vrbanc for a layup to make it 32-29, but DeMarcus Nelson answered with a beautiful reverse layup as the pace quickened some by both squads. Zubcic scored on a beautiful layup on the fast break, but again Robinson got on the glass in the last minutes of the half and Cholet took a 38-33 lead at the break.
Mejia hit first from the line to start the second half, but Cibona recorded 6 unanswered points, as Lalic and Stipcevic helped Cibona get within 40-39. Marquis then went to work for the hosts, attacking the basket on offensive rebounds and with put backs to build the lead to 46-39 after a nifty Nelson layup. With Avdalovic’s steady hand at the point, Cholet seemed to be in full control, and Cibona kept driving in close, but was unable to get over the hump. Another gutsy penetration by the point guard freed Marquis for a layup and a 50-44 edge, before Vrbanc kept the back and forth alive with a triple. Cibona was finally able to tie it at 50-50 after a couple of defensive stops and a trip to the line by Stipcevic, but Mejia answered with a three-point play off an Avdalovic assist. Cibona never let down in full defensive intensity mode and Robinson was kept silent in the quarter, but Avdalovic displayed a playmaking masterpiece with 6 assists in the period, fueling a final 9-2 run before entering the final 10 minutes with a 59-52 lead.
Cholet came out focused defensively to start the final quarter. Stipcevc and Cristophe Leonard traded triples, but then Cholet forced a pair of turnovers that resulted in layups for Vebobe and Leonard and an 11-2 run that forced visiting Radulovic to call a timeout in an effort to get his team to regroup. The talk did not have good results for Leon Radosevic, though, as the center got whistled for double technical and was ejected. Lalic kept Cibona in it with a pretty drive to the basket to make it 74-63 with under four minutes left, though Cholet kept passing the ball sharply and moving even better without it, forcing trips to the line. Cibona was able to get some good looks on the offensive end despite the deficit, but Vrbanc and Toni Brnas were not able to convert on their chances and Mejia punctuated a 7-2 run and the victory with a three-point basket off another feed from Avdalovic.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010