Tau Ceramica survived a tough test and stayed undefeated in Group C by edging Union Olimpija 90-91 in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Thursday. Mirza Teletovic became the game hero by hitting the game-winning floating layup with 2.7 seconds to go. Olimpija that rallied from a 21-point deficit in the final 16 minutes to get a 90-89 lead on a three-pointer by Jonathan Wallace, but Teletovic allowed Tau to move up to 2-0 and become the only undefeated team in Group C. Meanwhile, Olimpija dropped to 0-2 and hosts Lottomatica Roma next week. Teletovic also led the winners with 18 points. Tiago Splitter added 16 on 5-for-7 two-pointers and 6-for-7 free throws, Igor Rakocevic had 13, Fernando San Emeterio got 12 while Pablo Prigioni contributed 10 for Tau. Saso Ozbolt led Olimpija with 18 points on 4-for-5 three-pointers. Marko Milic added 16, Mirza Begic and Vlado Ilievski each had 15 while Wallace got 11 for the hosts, pushed by an extraordinary crowd at Tivoli Arena. Olimpija had a final chance to win the game, but Ilievski missed a long jumper right at the buzzer.
Will McDonald got Tau going with a power layup and even when the hosts went scoreless for more than 2 minutes, Ozbolt struck from downtown for a 3-2 Olimpija edge. Stanko Barac sank a close jumper but Ilievski bettered that with a triple. Prigioni dunked it off a steal, as Tau had finally adjusted its man-to-man defense. Rakocevic buried his first three-pointer and McDonald scored again but Ilievski and Ozbolt kept Olimpija within 11-12. Prigioni joined the three-point shootout but free throws by Milic kept the hosts as close as 14-15. Rakocevic stepped up with free throws that Vladimir Golubovic erased with a put-back layup. Splitter had his first points in the 2008-09 Euroleague while San Emeterio scored for a 16-21 Tau edge. Ozbolt nailed another triple but Prigioni scored off another midcourt steal. Ilievski took over with an acrobatic three-point play to bring Olimpija within 22-23 after 10 minutes.
Olimpija improved its defense early in the second quarter while Begic scored inside for a 24-23 edge. Splitter stepped up with a layup but Wallace answered from downtown to keep Olimpija ahead, 27-25. Rakocevic shined with a fast break layup while Teletovic nailed a big three-pointer to make Olimpija call timeout at 27-30. Begic fed Milic for an easy basket that Mustafa Shakur erased with a driving layup. The game was very physical now, as Begic and Splitter traded free throws while Jaka Klobucar shined with a fast break dunk for a 32-33 score. San Emeterio quickly answered with a layup, igniting a 0-7 Tau run that Teletovic capped with another three-pointer for a 32-40 Tau margin. Damjan Rudez answered from downtown but McDonald dunked it to keep Tau way ahead, 35-44. Ozbolt and Pete Mickeal traded free throws and even when Golubovic dunked it, Teletovic buried a corner triple for a 39-49 Tau lead. Golubovic and McDonald traded uncontested dunks while a jumper by Shakur fixed the halftime score at 41-53.
Ozbolt tried to ignit the hosts' comeback with a three-pointer immediately after the break but Teletovic - who else? - answered from downtown and soon added a tip-in for a 44-58 Tau lead. Rakocevic soon added a fast break layup to break the game open to make Olimpija call timeout at 44-60. San Emeterio followed free throws with a three-pointer to make it an 18-point game, 47-65. Golubovic scored inside but a red hot San Emeterio struck again from downtown and Rakocevic added an outstanding layup to boost the guests' lead to 49-70. Rudez nailed a triple and Milic added an easy basket to get the crowd involved. Ilievski bankedin a shot for a 55-72 deficit. Rakocevic and Ozbolt traded layups while Milic shined with a fast break dunk to get Olimpija even closer, 59-74. Milic followed a layup with an incredible, off-balance three-point play to get Olimpija even closer, 64-74. Shakur took over with an acrobatic reverse layup but Ozbolt got Olimpija within 66-76 after 30 minutes.
Shakur silenced the crowd with a three-pointer right at the start of the second quarter but Olimpija kept fighting. Begic shined with a power layup, as Tau tried to slow down the game tempo to keep the game clock running. Prigioni took over with a three-pointer but Wallace followed free throws with a bomb from downtown to get Olimpija within 73-82 with 6 minutes to go. Begic made foul shots but Splitter improved that with a three-point play. Begic insisted with a put-back layup and free throws while Milic brought Olimpija back in the game, 81-85, with 3:27 to go. Begic took over with an incredible move in the low post that Splitter matched in the other end. Splitter and Ilievski traded free throws while a turnaround jumper by Begic got Olimpija within 87-89 with 1:10 remaining. Teletovic missed a three-point shot while Wallace struck from downtown to complete the hosts' comeback, 90-89, with 24.6 seconds to go. Teletovic missed again from downtown but Splitter grabbed the offensive board, allowing him to score in penetration with 2.7 seconds remaining. It all came down to the final shot but Ilievski missed an off-balance jumper at the buzzer.
Thursday, October 30, 2008