Alba Berlin staged an impressive comeback with a 36-point fourth quarter to defeat Benetton Basket 83-74. Already eliminated from the next round of the competition, Alba earned the satisfaction of getting its first win. Benetton, now part of a 3-2 logjam in Group L, will advance with a win next week. Alba led until the third quarter, when it scored only 6 points and fell behind, but reasserted control in the final 10 minutes. Deshaun Wood paced the winners with 22 points and 9 assists, Kyle Weaver tallied 13 while Torin Francis and Bryce Taylor each added 12. Sani Becirovic scored 17 points and Marcus Goree and Jeff Viggiano each contributed 13 in a losing effort.
Alba struck first and did most of the early scoring, led by Taylor’s 7 points, to take a 13-8 lead. Viggiano drilled a three-pointer for Benetton, then Taylor came through again with a short-range jumper and Kyle Weaver added foul shots to give the hosts a 17-8 margin. A flurry of scoring ended the quarter, as Becirovic and Francis each scored 4 points, then Wood drilled a three-pointer and Goree answered with a two-pointer as the clock ran out, pushing the scoreboard to 26-16. Benjamin Ortner opened the second quarter with 6 straight points in the paint to pull Benetton to 26-22. Alba responded with 4 straight, on two-pointers by Derrick Allen and Francis, then Goree hit a short-range jumper, setting the score at 30-24. After free throws by both teams, Viggiano and Francis exchanged layups, then Alba’s Marko Simonovic buried a triple, as the hosts reclaimed a double-digit lead, 37-27. Taylor found the range from downtown, but Vlad Moldoveanu nailed a pair of two-pointers, Ortner dunked and Becirovic added a free throw, as the visitors cut the deficit to 41-34 at the end of the first half.
Moldoveanu opened the half with a layup then Jobey Thomas and Goree each drained a triple as Benetton vaulted into the lead for the first time in the game, 41-42. Francis and Wood scored two-pointers for the hosts, but Moldoveanu added two consecutive short-range baskets of his own to keep the visitors on top 45-47. Apart from free throws by both squads, Goree added a layup and Viggiano connected from deep with 1:41 left, which proved to be the last points of the third quarter, as Benetton found some breathing room, 47-56. Alba opened scoring with 5 straight, including a triple by Weaver, to cut the deficit to 52-56. Viggiano answered with a layup but Weaver knocked down another triple followed by a layup and foul shot, pulling Alba to 58-61. Alba maintained the pressure as Heiko Schaffartzik drilled a three-pointer, then after Becirovic put in a layup, Simonovic and Wood each scored in the paint as the hosts reclaimed the lead, 65-63. A seesaw battle ensued as Becirovic drained a three and Ortner added a layup to briefly give the hosts the lead, but Simonovic countered with a three of his own and Wood added a layup, pushing the score to 71-68 with a little over 3 minutes to go. Wood kept at, scoring a pair of foul shots, a layup and then a three-pointer, giving Alba a 78-68 lead with 1:44 left. Goree answered with a triple, but then Weaver and Wood each added two-pointers to keep Benetton at bay. Becirovic downed a triple at the buzzer, but the game belonged to Alba, as the hosts finished strong to earn the 83-74 victory.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012