Artland Dragons already showed it will be a tough opponent in regular season Group G by edging Fortitudo Bologna 87-78 at home in Quakenbrueck, Germany on Tuesday. Artland ties for first place and faces FMP next week, while Fortitudo hosts 2003 ULEB Cup champion Pamesa Valencia. Dirk Madrich paced the winners with 20 points on 4-for-5 two-pointers and 3-for-3 triples. Drew Neitzel added 17, Darren Fenn had 16 while Adam Hess got 14 for Artland. DJ Strawberry had 29 points to lead Fortitudo. Jamomt Gordon added 13 while Davide Lamma had 11 for the guests. Gordon and Stefano Mancinelli allowed Fortitudo to get a 13-15 egde after 10 minutes. Gordon joined forces with Strawberry to keep the guests ahead, 38-43, at halftime. Strawberry had 9 points right after the break to give Fortitudo its last lead, 56-61. Madrich and Neitzel fueled a 13-0 run that put Artland ahead for good, 69-61. Strawberry stayed on fire but Neitzel, Madrich and Fenn allowed Artland to grab a key home win.
Gordon got Fortitudo going with a dunk while Marcelo Huertas added a layup for a 2-4 Fortitudo edge. Artland struggled to score in the opening minutes, while Kieron Achara followed an easy basket with a three-point play to boost the guests' margin to 4-11. Mancinelli stepped up with another layup, but Artland immediately improved its defense. Lamont McIntosh struck from downtown, igniting a 7-0 run that Hess capped with a layup to bring Artland back to life, 11-13. Gregor Fucka silenced the crowd with a dunk but Zack Whiting kept the hosts within 13-15 after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Madrich completed the Dragons' comeback, 16-15, but Fortitudo quickly found a go-to guy in Strawberry. He led a 0-7 run that Gordon capped with a triple to restore a 16-23 Fortitudo lead. Madrich followed free throws with a layup but Fucka and Lamma combined for all points in a 0-6 run, good for a 22-29 Fortitudo edge. Madrich sank another triple and Fenn added back-to-back layups to make it a one-point game, 36-37. Three-pointers by Matteo Malaventura and Strawberry restored a 38-43 edge at halftime.
Strawberry stayed unstoppable after the break, as he followed consecutive layups with a bomb from downtown to keep Fortitudo ahead, 43-50. Hess fired in back-to-back three-pointers, getting the crowd involved. He capped a 9-0 run with a free throw that gave Artland a 52-50 edge. Strawberry scored again and Gordon sank a big triple to provide another lead change, 52-55. Lamma fed Fucka for a layup and added free throws for a 56-59 edge. Gordon sank a jumper but back-to-back baskets by Neitzel and Madrich got Artland as close as 60-61 after 30 minutes. Neitzel and Jan Rohdewald struck from downtown right at the start of the fourth quarter while Darius Hall dunked it for a 69-61 Artland lead, after a 13-0 run. Strawberry stepped up again and Lamma buried another three-pointer but Artland had full control of the game now. Madrich nailed another triple while Neitzel added free throws for a 76-66 margin midway through the fourth quarter. Strawberry kept trying, but only managed to get Fortitudo within 82-74 with under 2 minutes to go. Fenn followed free throws with a layup to make Artland register a key win.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008