Tau Ceramica took a giant step towards reaching the Euroleague Quarterfinals Playoffs by using a 8-31 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to cruise past Asseco Prokom 72-92 on the road in Group E. Tau improved to 4-1 in the Top 16 and will advance to the playoffs this week if Olympiacos beats Armani Jeans on Thursday. Meanwhile Prokom remained winless at 0-5, losing its final home game in the Euroleague this season. Prokom led by as many as 5 points in the first quarter as Pat Burke and Ronnie Burrell combined to score the final 16 points of the period for the hosts. Tau built a 5-point lead in a tight second quarter, which ended with the guests ahead 36-38. Pete Mickeal and Mirza Teletovic combined for 13 points in Tau's 4-16 surge to close the third quarter. And Teletovic continued his superb second half as the lead grew to 22 points midway through the fourth quarter. Teletovic scored all of his game-high 22 points in the second half. Mickeal had 14 points on the night. Igor Rakocevic hit for 13 points, Will McDonald added 11 points and 7 rebounds and Pablo Prigioni chipped in 9 points and 4 assists. Burke paced Prokom with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Burrell and Qyntel Woods both had 12 points and David Logan scored 11 points.
Logan started the scoring for the hosts with a steal and breakaway layup. Piotr Szczotka's offensive rebound and put-back made it 4-0. McDonald's dunk after a nice interior pass by Rakocevic got Tau on the scoreboard. A breakaway layup by Rakocevic knotted the game early. Logan and Prigioni swapped three-pointers and Tau grabbed its first lead of the game on McDonald's three-ball from the right wing to make it 9-10. Prokom's big men Burrell and Burke began taking over play with Burke hitting two baskets for a 13-12 lead. Burrell threw down a dunk from the left baseline after a Tau turnover and the advantage was 15-12. A Burrell mid-range jumper on the left baseline and Burke's lefty jam had Prokom thinking upset with a 19-14 lead. Rakocevic answered by nailing a three on the left wing with a hand in his face only to see Burrell dunk from the right baseline for a 21-17 advantage. And 2 Burke foul shots ended the first quarter scoring with Prokom ahead 23-19 with Burke and Burrell having scored the final 16 points of the first period.
Tiago Splitter scored his first basket late in the first period and hit a jump hook and lefty layin to start the second quarter, knotting the game at 23-23 and forcing the hosts to talk things over. Splitter came up with a block on defense and McDonald's dunk on the break finished a 0-6 run for Tau. Filip Dylewicz stopped the run with a three-ball to push Prokom back ahead. But Tau continued exerting itself with McDonald, Splitter and Vlado Ilievski hitting baskets before Sergi Vidal's scooping layup to complete a 5-14 start to the second quarter for a 28-33 cushion. Woods knocked down a triple for his first score of the game and knotted the game seconds later with a driving layup for 33-33. Both sides would make three foul shots before Mickeal's layup just before the break made it 36-38 at intermission.
Rakocevic's two foul shots opened the second half before a Logan driving layup and Burrell three would make it 41-40. Prigioni answered with the triple of his own only to have Logan and Burke hit jumpers for a 45-43 lead. But then Teletovic began finding his form. After going scoreless in the first half, Prigioni found Teletovic for an alley-oop to even the game and he then knocked down his first triple to make it 45-48. A long Daniel Ewing jumper and Burrell put-back jam gave Prokom its final lead of the game, 49-48. Mickeal scored 4 straight points and made two more baskets, Prigioni nailed a three-ball and Teletovic hit a long jumper and a triple as Tau closed the third period on a 4-16 run for a 53-64 lead going into the fourth.
Teletovic continued his hot second half with a three-pointer to open the final period. McDonald's inside basket made it a 53-69 game before Burke's layin got Prokom on the board in the fourth. But Mickeal hit a fade-away jumper and Ilievski drained a three-ball as the lead grew to 19 points. Teletovic threw down a dunk and then hit another triple as Tau's advantage grew to 22 points, 57-79. Ewing and Woods hit back-to-back long balls to bring Prokom back to within 63-79. But the hosts would not get any closer the rest of the night as Teletovic dunked again on the break to re-establish a 20-point lead as the visitors coasted to the win.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009