BC FMP capped a great regular season in Group B by fighting off a late rally to defeat Snaidero Udine 85-78 at home in Zeleznik, Serbia on Tuesday. Both teams had already qualified for the elimination rounds, and FMP was already group champ, but by winning tied for the top record of the regular season, 8-2, with Montepaschi Siena of Group C. Snaidero actually tied for third place with Strasbourg, both 5-5, but lost the tiebreaker between them and finished fourth in the group. FMP led by double digits in the second half before Snaidero rallied to tie 78-78 in the closing minutes, but never scored again as the hosts downed the last 7 points to take the victory. Branko Cvetkovic had 19 of FMP's 57 points in bench scoring to lead the winners. Zoran Erceg chipped in 15, Predrag Samardiski and Milos Teodosic 10 each. For Snaidero, the big gun was Larry O'Bannon with 20 points, while Kristaps Valters and Damon Williams added 17.
Erceg got FMP rolling with a pair of bombs from downtown in the early minutes, his first as Snaidero started with as many turnovers. Samardziski added 4 straight points for a quick 7-0 lead by FMP before O'Bannon netted the first points for the guests. Snaidero continued having problems stopping Samardziski, who hit 4 more points before Christian Di Giuliomaria came on to try to defend the FMP big man. The hosts kept their domination under the boards but missed several long-distance chances now. Finally, Erceg hit a layup to make it 15-6, but that only sparked the guests to answer with a 0-8 run that included their first triple, from Di Giuliomaria. FMP replaced all of its five starters and the result was 6-0 run in the final minutes of the first quarter, which ended 21-17. Snaidero missed two chances to tie the score at the start of the second quarter and Dragan Todorovic punished them for it. O'Bannon then traded his 2 triples with Cvetkovic and Teodosic of FMP, but Valters added points on the fastbreak as Snaidero pulled within 29-28 at minute 15. In response, Cvetkovic and Erceg led the hosts on another big run of 12-4 run, boosting FMP's lead to 9 points, 31-22. Joel Zachetti stopped Snaider's slide with a nine-meter bomb, but Cvetkovic did the same for FMP and the score was 44-39 after 20 minutes.
Cvetkovic opened fire in second half with a layup and points on the break to push FMP ahead more, whereupon Snaidero switched to a zone and managed to confuse their hosts. Samardziski went off with his fourth foul, but the visitors from Udine failed to take advantage due to a lot of missed shots. FMP struck back with a 7-2 run that included 5 consecutive points from Dragan Labovic. When Teodosic hit a couple free throws, FMP had a double-digit lead, 64-54, for the first time. The same margin remained until the end of the third quarter, when the score was 66-56. Labovic had many problems guarding Williams, who booked 4 points and 2 offensive rebounds early in the final quarter. Jacob Jaacks joined Williams and Snaidero cut the lead to 67-62 in minute 33. Jaacks and Marko Djerasimovic traded triples but Valters added another for Snaidero, keeping his team alive. O'Bannon and Silvio Gigena hit 5 straight points as FMP clung to a 76-73 advantage with 4 minutes left. Williams then blocked Samardziski and Valters tied the score 78-78, completing a 2-10 run. Erceg managed to stop Snaidero's streak with a triple. He was joined by Labovic and Djerasimovic, whose baskets gave FMP a 7-0 run and forced Snaidero to take a timeout. Nothing changed afterwards, however, as FMP lived up to its status as Group B champ with an 85-78 home victory.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007