The seventh week of the Euroleague at the BPA Palas in Pesaro didn't surprise anybody, even though it was close to doing so. One of two winless Euroleague teams before coming to Pesaro, Telindus Oostende left in the same condition after losing 86-75 to Scavolini. Oostende dropped its record to 0-7 while Scavolini climbed to 4-3 in trying to keep pace, together with Tau, of the first teams in Group D. Scavolini was led by Melvin Booker who collected 24 points, with the help of Brad Traina who posted 17 and Joseph Blair who got a huge double-double gathering 15 points and pulling an amazing 19 boards. For Oostende, the best scorers were Virginius Praskevicius with 21 points, followed by Christopher Beghin with 19 and Ralph Biggs with 12.
The first quarter began as the game was expected to be, with Scavolini ahead with no noticeable problems, and in minute five the deficit for Oostende was of 11 points (15-4) which forced head coach Eddy Caastels to call a time out in search of his team's reaction but it seems that it took a while for Oostende's players to put what their coach told them into practice, since right after the time out, the trend of the game was the same and in a couple of plays the lead for he hosts jumped to 13 led by Booker, 19-6. From here though, the guests seemed to come back into the game and with some quick plays cut the deficit down to 8 (22-14), and followed Scavolini's pace until the end of the first, 25-18.
It was on the second when Oostende meant business and gave Scavolini more difficulties than expected, playing as a team led by Beghin and Praskevicius. The home team began pulling away in a timid way, trying to suspass the 10-point lead barrier (39-29) unsuccessfully, and the Belgians noticed it, and this time, after Caastel's time out they did start playing seriously and hitting a 0-6 run which brought them back into the game with a small 4-point deficit (39-35), difference that was to remain until the teams hit the lockerrooms, 43-39.
And the game followed on right after the break with a disconcerting game in which neither of the teams seemed to have a will to win the game. It started with the guests getting even closer than they did in the first half, 49-47 in minute 4, but they didn't know how to totally neutralize Scavolini's lead and they paid the price for that mistake as the hosts started controlling the game, but in their turn, they didn't manage to pull away either and in the end the scoreboard displayed 62-57. Nobody knew what would happen in the last period if things remained the same. And they did.
The last period began just as the rest of the game developed but with a big difference. This time, Oostende tied the game at 64 with 8 minutes to go. But that was Oostende's best, which had nothing to do against Blair's rebounding. Scavolini started to go away clumsily and slowly, but going away eventually. And in the end, the free throws enlarged a final score which is absolutely deceptive, 86-75.
Wednesday, December 5, 2001