Group D has had a carousel of leaders all season, but Tau Ceramica of Spain has clinched first place now with another resounding win, this one by 114-78 over visiting Telindus Oostende. As such, Tau (9-4) overcomes a 2-3 start to the season, including two overtime losses, just as it overcame against Oostende despite missing two of its basic players, Elmer Bennett and Fabricio Oberto. Despite these absences, the team of Vitoria showed a deep concentration and gave no option to Oostende. The winners were led by Dejan Tomasevic and Andres Nocioni, both with 22 points. Luis Scola had 16 while Laurent Foirest added 13. For the losers, who drop to 2-11, Ed Cota posted 24 and Ralph Biggs contributed 20.
Oostende began the game with a light defense, which provoked a starting 10-0 run for the hosts that made it clear that what happened against AEK was not going to happen again at the Fernando Buesa arena. The game continued and the control from Tau was total, with a specially active Hugo Sconochini, both on defense and offense. Thanks to a defense over the edge, and the virtually non-existent rival, the hosts climbed easily to 21-7 that brought the first time out on the Belgian side. But any effort on their part was completely useless as the score showed 33-15 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter began like the first one but with inverted roles. On this occasion, it was the Belgians who hit a 2-11 run . But as soon as coach Dusko Ivanovic started the rotations, it was over for Oostende. From there, only one team was on court, and that was Tau, which broke the game open. Even Carlos Arroyo made his debut in minute 16. The last minutes of the period were tedious as Tau did everything they wanted to hit the locker rooms with 58-42.
A hurricane called Tau stepped on court at the beginning of the third. Oostende depended entirely on its long range shooting, but on Wednesday night, its players missed more than usual, while Ivanovic's men turned the playing floor into a practice floor, with 88-62 at the end of the third. The last ten minutes mirrored the third period, with a flaw for the hosts provoked by Tomasevic who committed a totally unnecessary unsportsmanlike foul over Gerritt Major that was his fifth. The rest of the game was used by Ivanovic to give minutes to the less habitual players and certify the difference between the leader of the group and the last-place team, 114-78.
Wednesday, February 6, 2002