Montepaschi Siena climbed to the second spot in Group A by thrashing Prokom Trefl Sopot 87-64 at home on Wednesday. Montepaschi improved to 9-4 and is now second in the standings, as Tau registered a 70-62 road loss against Group A champion CSKA Moscow. Meanwhile, Prokom dropped to 3-10 and will mathematically run out of chances to reach the Top 16 if Partizan Igokea beats Brose Baskets in Group C tomorrow, as the Polish League champion would not be able to become the best sixth-ranked team in the competition. Romain Sato led the winners with 16 points. Vlado Ilievski and Bootsy Thornton each added 11 while Ben Eze had 10 and 6 steals for Montepaschi. Milan Gurovic had 20 points for Prokom while Pape Sow and and Jovo Stanojevic each added 10 for the guests. Gurovic and Sow each grabbed 8 rebounds for the Polish League champion. Sato and Thornton fueled a 13-0 opening run for Montepaschi and even when Prokom got within 15-8, another 8-0 run that Eze capped with a fast break dunk allowed the hosts to get a 22-8 edge after 10 minutes. Montepaschi boosted its lead to 43-23 at halftime and then again to 63-40 after 30 minutes, enough to seal the outcome long before the final buzzer.
Thornton got Montepaschi going with a running jumper while Sato added a corner triple for a 5-0 lead. Prokom struggled to score in the opening 2 minutes, as a 24-second violation allowed Sato to bury another three-pointer exactly from the same spot to make Prokom call timeout at 8-0. Eze provided a highlight with an outstanding dunk while Thornton made a free throw for an 11-0 Montepaschi lead, as Prokom had committed 5 turnovers in as manu minutes. Eze capped a 13-0 opening run with a wild alleyoop dunk in traffic. Prokom asked for a second timeout as Tomas Masiulis finally stepped up with a five-meter jumper. Prokom opted to slow down the game tempo and to improve its shot selection. Free throws by Gurovic and Sow gave the guests some hope at 13-5. Montepaschi had been scoreless for 3 minutes already until Thronton took over with a fast break layup. Gurovic answered from downtown for a 15-8 Prokom deficit. Ilievski shined with a driving basket while a big block by Eze allowed Tomas Ress to strike from downtown in the other end. A fast break dunk by Eze fixed the score at 22-8 after 10 minutes.
Prokom tried to play more aggressive early in the second quarter while Przemyslaw Zamojski tried to ignit the guests' comeback with free throws. Ilievski quickly answered in transition but Zamosjki scored again for a 24-12 Prokom deficit. Keith McLeod buried a long two-pointer while Sato sank his third triple to make it a 17-point game, 29-12. Sow provided a highlight - and please some of his diehard fans in the stands - with a dunk but Montepaschi did not panic. Sow kept pacing Prokom with a free throw, as the hosts tried to open the court with Ksistof Lavrinovic and Ress on court. Ilievski fired in a big three-pointer but Sow stayed on fire with more foul shots. Marco Carrareto joined the three-point festival while Lavrinovic followed Sow's tip-in with one from downtown to give Montepaschi a 20-point lead, 38-18. McIntyre pleased the crowd with an acrobatic layup, as Prokom struggled to score now. Youngster Adam Waczynski stepped up with a close jumper and Gurovic added free throws but a big three-pointer by McLeod restored a 20-point Montepaschi margin, 43-23, at halftime.
Thornton needed 9 seconds to draw a foul and hit free throws as both teams returned to the floor. Gurovic quickly scored in the other end but he did not find much help around. Thronton kept pacing Montepaschi with a driving basket while Eze added an off-balanced turnaround jumper for a 49-25 margin. Prokom kept going to the foul line often but Montepaschi stayed intense at both ends. Meanwhile, Stonerook stroke from downtown while Thronton added his trademark baseline jumper to make it a 28-point game, 54-26. Prokom called a much-needed timeout and Stanojevic stepped up with a tip-in. The guests had improved their defense while Gurovic scored again coming off the baseline. Stanojevic capped a 0-6 Prokom run with a layup, making Montepaschi call timeout at 54-32. Carrareto stepped up with a mid-range jumper that Sow matched with a big basket in the other end. Slanina added free throws but McIntyre answered from downtown to restore a 23-point Montepaschi lead, 59-36. Stanojevic shined with consecutive jump hooks but Eze took over with a two-handed dunk and Ress added a driving layup to fix the score at 63-40 after 30 minutes.
Krzysztof Roszyk buried a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter but Montepaschi kept controlling the game. Lavrinovic hit a jumper and then bettered Stanojevic's layup with a bomb from downtown, good for a 68-45 Montepaschi margin. Ilievski stepped up with another driving layup, as Stanojevic kept pacing Prokom with another jump hook. Prokom only managed to trade baskets, however, as Sato scored in the low post and soon added a jumper for a 74-47 Montepaschi margin, enough to seal the outcome with more than 6 minutes to go. Prokom adjusted its defense, while Gurovic banked in a jumper that Stanojevic followed with free throws for a 74-51 Prokom deficit. Montepaschi struggled against the guests' 3-2 zone defense while Zamojski capped a 0-11 Prokom run with a three-pointer. Hector Romero stepped up with a tip-in and soon added a driving layup to seal the win in style, 79-58. Everything was said and done already, as Montepaschi will keep fighting for Euroleague glory while Prokom will try to please its fans in its final regular season game against Olimpija.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008