DKV Joventut used its dynamic backcourt duo to edge Olympiacos 58-56 and get its first win in Group E at home in Badalona, Spain on Thursday night. Both teams now tie for the second place in Group E with a 1-1 record right behind the undefeated leader CSKA Moscow, first at 2-0. Rudy Fernandez led the winners with 15 points, but 16-year-old Ricky Rubio had his 5 points and 5 of his 7 steals in the fourth quarter. Charles Gaines barely missed a double-double with 8 points and 12 rebounds for Joventut. Scoonie Penn had 16 points for Olympiacos, Alex Acker added 11 while Andrija Zizic and Sam Hoskin each got 10 for the Reds. Hoskin added 13 rebounds for a double-double while Zizic pulled down 9 boards. The game went down to the wire, as Fernandez and Rubio fueled a 8-2 run that gave Joventut a 55-51 lead. Hoskin and Penn combined for 4 quick points, but Fernandez hit a big jumper and Rubio added a free throw to seal a thrilling, key win down the stretch.
Fernandez opened the scoring with a layup but Acker bettered it with a three-point play to give the Reds a 2-3 edge. Andy Betts scored around the basket while Fernandez buried his first bomb from downtown, good for a 7-3 Joventut lead. Zizic nailed a mid-range jumper and Ioannis Bourousis added a put-back basket, but Gaines and Marcelinho Huertas kept Joventut ahead, 11-7. Olympiacos' defense started to close in and force Joventut mistakes, but Gaines' offensive rebound ended with a dunk, promptly replied by Alex Acker for 13-11. Gaines and Zizic were protagonists in the paint as Olympiacos tried to slow the game down now. Free throws by Huertas ignited a 6-0 Joventut run that Robert Archibald capped with a layup for a 19-13 lead. Hoskin followed a jumper with a high-flying put-back basket while Acker fired in a huge shot to bring Olympiacos within 20-19 after 10 minutes.
Zizic scored around the basket early in the second quarter, but Joventut had improved its defense, making it even more aggressive with Rubio on court. Dimitri Flis shined with consecutive dunks to put the hosts back ahead, 25-21. The Reds went scoreless for 4 minutes now, while Betts capped a 6-0 Joventut run with a fast break layup. Zizic rescued Olympiacos with free throws and Penn found his first basket, as the hosts lost control in offense. Meanwhile, Acker scored in transition and Penn hit a jumper off the dribble to give the Reds a 28-29 edge, after a 1-8 run. Joventut called timeout and readjusted its defense. Fernandez took over with a huge dunk, but both teams went scoreless for 2 intense minutes. A free throw by Gaines fixed the score at 31-29 as both teams headed to the locker rooms.
The game followed the same parameters after the break - intense man-to-man defense in both ends. Points kept coming the hard way until Penn buried a baseline jumper for a 31-31 tie. Olympiacos kept controlling the defensive board, as Joventut kept missing one shot after another, going scoreless for almost 4 minutes. The hosts missed as many as 8 straight shots and a couple of free throws - until Fernandez stepped up with a coast-to-coast layup for a 33-32 lead. Olympiacos tried to get Sofoklis Schortsianitis involved without much success, while Archibald hit free throws. Henry Domercant answered from downtown but his unsportsmanlike foul allowed Huertas and Paco Vazquez to restore a five-point Joventut lead, 40-35. Zizic shined with a turnaround jumper but Drew Sullivan erased with a basket in the low post to make the hosts keep a 42-37 lead after three quarters.
Hoskin stepped up with a put-back layup early in the final period. Fernandez provided a highlight with an alleyoop dunk that Penn erased with a driving layup. Archibald hit free throws while Rubio collected a steal that allowed Gaines to give Joventut a 47-41 lead. Penn made foul shots while Christos Harissis added an off-balance driving layup to bring the Reds back to life, 47-45, midway through the fourth quarter. Joventut kept having troubles to score, while Hoskin hit free throws and Acker buried a short jumper to give the Reds a 47-49 edge with less than 4 minutes to go. Flis made a foul shot while Rubio dunked it off a steal to make Joventut regain the lead, 50-49. Rubio and Penn exchanged free throws while Flis buried one from downtown for a 55-51 Joventut lead with 90 seconds to go. Hoskin made foul shots while Penn added a floating layup for a 55-55 tie with 47.7 seconds remaining. Fernandez shined with a fallaway jumper while Penn and Rubio hit one free throw apiece, giving Olympiacos a final possession in which the Reds did not manage to take a shot.
Thursday, February 22, 2007