BK FMP of Serbia stopped the 13-game home winning-streak of BK Ventspils in Latvia by 69-78 on Tuesday in Group B. FMP is now leading the group with a perfect 2-0 record while Ventspils dropped to 1-1. FMP was the last team to beat Ventspils at home, too, in the 2004 ULEB Cup eighthfinals. The game was balanced throughout, with the two teams exchanging the lead several times, until the guests of FMP bridged the last two quarters with a 10-2 run to get a nine-points margin that Ventspils was unable to answer. FMP made another 0-7 run midway through the last quarter to seal the outcome. Aleksandar Rasic led the way for FMP by scoring 17 points. Mladen Pantic added 14 with an excellent 7 of 8 two-point shooting. Branko Cvetkovic netted 11 more and Milos Teodosic chipped in 10. Eddie Shannon was the main contributor for Ventspils, bagging 25 points depsite a making just 1 of 6 from long distance. Aigars Vitols, with 16, was the only other Ventspils scorer in double figures. The hosts suffered a 3-for-17 performance from beyond the arc.
Eddie Shannon opened the scoring for Ventspils from downtown and Raimonds Vaikulis extended the run to 5-0 before Mladen Pantic hit a first bucket for the guests of FMP. A mid-range jumper by Slobodan Popovic cut the Ventspils cushion to 8-6 midway through the quarter, but then Aigars Vitols ended a scoreless spell for the hosts with his basket. Branko Cvetkovic of FMP and Uvis Helmanis of Ventspils exchanged scores inside, then Pantic and Vitols did so with jumpers. Finally, however, FMP got its tie at 14-14 with a pair of free throws by Cvetkovic in the minute 9. Aleksandar Rasic then found consecutive layups to give FMP its first lead, 16-18, as the first quarter finished. The defenses were protagonists early in the second quarter as 2 minutes passed before Dusan Jelic tied it up for Ventspils at 18-18. Zoran Erceg assisted Cvetkovic for a basket from beyond the arc for FMP, but Ventspils answered with back-to-back bombs by Shannon and Vitols for a new change of lead, to 24-21. FMP exploded in response, however, going on a 0-6 run to burst ahead again. One more time, Shannon was there to keep Ventspils on track, 26-27, after 17 minutes, but FMP stayed on fire for another 2-6 run to go ahead 28-33. Ventspils rebounded from some misses as Justin Love found easy points in the open court and Shannon converted free throws to bring Ventspils to within 32-33 at halftime.
Shannon showed himself again to be the best offensive weapon for Ventspils by scoring to grab back the lead for the hosts, 35-33, after the break. But in few seconds, Nemanja Protic scored his first 5 points of the game to push FMP in front again, 35-38. Soon, after misses by both teams, Bojan Krstovic's shot from downtown capped a 0-8 FMP run to the highest lead of the night, 35-41. Dragan Labovic increased it to 35-42 before Vitols revived the hosts by scoring 2 free throws and a triple to get Ventspils within 41-43 after 27 minutes. After Pavels Veselovs missed a potential game-tying free throw, big man Predrag Samardziski dunked before Milos Todosic scored to make it 46-51 FMP after three quarters. Early in the fourth, Pantic and Rasic put together 6 points for the game's first double-figure margin, 48-57, but Shannon and Love combined on 4 consecutive free throws to reduce the difference to 52-57. The FMP defense tightened for good them, however, as the guests took off on a game-deciding 0-7 burst to a 52-64 advantage with 4 minutes left. A basket posted from beyond the arc by Cvetkovic sealed the game with FMP leading 57-69, but Ventspils didn't give up and showed all its pride by climbing within 61-69. FMP's accuracy from the foul line, converting 7 of 8 down the stretch, assured the outcome.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006