Asseco Prokom walloped Zalgiris 89-65
Asseco Prokom registered its first win in Top 16 Group G by downing Zalgiris 89-65 in Gdynia, Poland on Thursday night. Prokom grabbed its third consecutive home win and its fourth in the last six games. Meanwhile, Zalgiris got its 12th consecutive Top 16 road loss. Its last Top 16 road win came against Ulker, when Zalgiris won 73-85 in Istanbul, Turkey on March 4, 2004. David Logan paced the winners with 20 points and 8 assists. Daniel Ewing added 16 points, Ronnie Burrell had 13 while Przemyslaw Zamojski got 11 for Prokom. Dainius Salenga had 15 points for Zalgiris while Mario Delas added 14 in his Euroleague debut. Logan took over early in the game and a three-pointer by Ewing gave Prokom a 25-18 edge after 10 minutes. Zalgiris improved once Delas stepped on court but Logan, Ratko Varda and Qyntel Woods kept Prokom way ahead, 45-36, at halftime. A 13-0 run that Burrell capped with a layup broke the game open, 58-38, midway through the third quarter. Zalgiris kept trying but Prokom managed to sealed the outcome minutes before the final buzzer.
Zalgiris opted for a small starting lineup with Salenga at power forward. Meanwhile, Prokom used Adam Hrycaniuk at center to guard Mirza Begic, leaving Woods on the bench. Logan got Prokom going with a driving layup that Salenga bettered with a three-pointer. Logan answered from downtown off the dribble, as Prokom tried to find Burrell down low against Salenga. Begic sank free throws but a put-back basket by Hrycaniuk gave Prokom a 8-5 lead. A red hot Logan followed a five-meter jumper with a driving layup, as Zalgiris could not get Marcus Brown involved. Logan stayed on fire with an off-balance layup, making Zalgiris call timeout at 15-7. Woods capped a 9-0 run with free throws, as Salenga buried his second triple for a 17-10 Zalgiris deficit. Varda came off the bench and immediately hit free throws but Salenga answered once again from downtown. Varda scored inside, as he tried to play physical against Begic. He took the challenge with a jump hook and Siim-Sander Vene added a fast break layup to bring Zalgiris back to life, 22-17. Zalgiris tried a 2-3 zone defense that Ewing beat with a stop-and-pop triple for a 25-18 Prokom lead after 10 minutes.
Aleksandar Capin hit free throws, as Zalgiris kept its 2-3 zone defense early in the second quarter. Woods provided a highlight with a wild dunk and Zamojski downed a corner triple to give Prokom its first double-digit lead, 30-20. Begic silenced the crowd with an easy dunk, as both teams tried to use short possessions now. Woods fed Varda for a two-handed dunk and Jan Jagla scored in the low post to force the guests to call timeout at 34-23. Delas banked in a six-meter jumper but a technical foul on Brown allowed Ewing and Woods to make it a 13-point game, 38-25. Delas took over with a big three-point play but Logan followed a triple in transition with another driving basket. Delas kept pacing the guests with free throws and Salenga added a jumper to give Zalgiris some hope at 43-32. Prokom adjusted its man-to-man defense and Burrell stepped up with a five-meter jumper. Zalgiris could not get Salenga and Delas involved but Adas Juskevicius shined with a coast-to-coast layup off a steal and Brown added a floating layup to bring their team within 45-36 at halftime.
Salenga made free throws immediately after the break but a three-pointer by Lukasz Seweryn made Prokom restore a double-digit lead, 48-38. Prokom tried to slow down the game tempo to find open shots against the guests' zone defense. Logan fired in a seven-meter bomb from the top of the key and Hrycaniuk kept stopping Begic and added a layup to make Zalgiris call timeout at 53-38. Zalgiris tried to run its offense through Brown but he struggled to beat Logan's on-the-ball defense. Logan fed Ewing for a big three-pointer that broke the game open, 56-38. A layup by Burrell capped a 13-0 Prokom run, as Capin stepped up with a layup in penetration. Salenga shined with a floating layup that Zamojski erased with a fast break basket. Zalgiris could not find the way to the basket and Burrell soon made it a 20-point game, 62-42. The game turned into a three-point shootout, as Arturas Milaknis and Ewing traded triples while Marty Pocius also struck from downtown for a 65-48 score. Delas sank free throws and soon added a four-meter jumper to fix the score at 67-52 after 30 minutes.
Burrell scored down low early in the second quarter, as Zalgiris tried to speed up the game tempo, using shot possessions and playing much more aggressive in defense. Mantas Kalnietis shined with a fast break layup but he didn't find much help around. Ewing set the crowd on fire with an acrobatic second-chance layup good for a 72-54 Prokom lead with 7 minutes left. The hosts kept dominating the game with intense defense while Seweryn followed a layup in transition with a triple for a 77-56 score. Both teams already fought for points differential, which may be a critical issue in the fight to make it to the playoffs. Ewing and Zamojski struck from downtown but Kalnietis kept trying to change things for the guests. Everything was said and done already, as all Prokom fans were already celebrating an important home win. Meanwhile, Zalgiris must bounce back right away to keep its Quarterfinal Playoffs options intact.
Thursday, January 28, 2010