Climamio Bologna started what it hopes to be a second assault on the Final Four with a come-from-behind 71-76 road win at Olympiacos on Wednesday night in the Group A opener for both teams. Climamio won with an 11-24 blast covering the final quarter after Olympiacos had been in charge the previous 30 minutes. The game arrived tied at 71-71 in the final minute but Stefano Mancinelli boosted Climamio to the final 71-76 win. Now Climamio holds a 1-0 record while the Reds start with a 0-1. Matjaz Smodis was the best scorer for the winners with 18 points, Milos Vujanic added 14 and Ruben Douglas and Mancinelli nailed 11 apiece. For Olympiacos, newcomer Marque Perry led the way with 18 points, Dusan Vukcevic added 15 and Lazaros Agadakos scored 11.
The home team fans from Olympiacos were pumped up to have last season's finalist on their court for the Euroleague opener. From the first tip off until the final moment of the first half, it was a run-and-gun game between two hungry teams. Former Olympiacos center Dalibor Bagaric got his new team going with 5 points in the paint, while another Climamio newcoer, Ruben Douglas, drilled a pair of three-pointers. Olympiacos reacted with Dusan Vukcevic scoring a three of his own and Perry rattling off 6 points and some nice assists to make his team surge ahead 18-12 midway through the first quarter. Smodis was there to rescue Climamio with 9 points late in the quarter, which nonetheless finished 26-24 in favor of the Reds.
In the second quarter, Olympiacos tried to run and execute using all its perimeter power. That means Vuksevic, Perry and also Lavor Postell, who scored 5 of his 7 points now. Lazaros Agadakos was decisive also, making two difficult shots in sending the Reds ahead 43-35, their biggest lead of the half. Smodis had the answer again, popping a triple and 2 free throws as Climamio cut the deficit to 43-38 late in the period and finally entered the locker room with six points to cover, 45-39. One of the big problems for Climamio coach Jasmin Repesa was Gianmarco Pozzecco’s forth foul midway through the second period, while Gianluca Basile had just 2 points in 20 minutes. The upside for the visitors was 5 points near the halfway mark from center Martin Rancik that kept Olympiacos from running away.
The third period was completely different than the first two. Defenses took over such that after 5 minutes, only 10 points had been scored, as Climamio moved to within 49-45. With young center Erazem Lorbek anchoring the defense, a big three-pointer from Milos Vujanic got Climamio close. Then, with 3 minutes left in the quarter, Douglas pushed the visitors ahead 49-50 with a pair of free throws. That was a crucial moment when Olympiacos reacted perfectly using two perimeter players. First, Perry made a short jumper to assure the lead and then Vukcevic was connected with another triple to give the Reds points of breathing room making a three that gave Olympiacos a new 54-50 lead. Perry added a free throw and a two-point shot to make it 58-50 late in quarter. With Basile stuck on 2 points and his teammates similarly quiet, Climamio needed 2 more Rancik free throws to climb within 60-52 after 30 minutes.
But that was not Climamio's last word. Mancinelli climbed off the bench and scored 9 consecutive points, while a zone defense called for by Repesa stymied Olympiacos. Climamio came back, transforming the game into a real derby at 63-61 with 7 minutes still left. Pozzecco then tied it at 63-63 with a crazy turnaround lay up. Olympiacos still faced huge problems against the zone and Climamio pushed ahead 63-67 due to consecutive fastbreaks. Perry and Vuksevic found points again, tying it again for the Reds, 71-71, with 2 minutes to go. Free throws by Vujanic got Climamio the lead back, then both teams missed until a turnover by Douglas with 11 seconds remaining gave Olympiacos a last chance. Perry missed his chance, however, by committing turnover and then Ivan Zoroski fouled Douglas, who made both free throws with 4 seconds to go, putting victory out of reach for the Reds and their fans.
Wednesday, November 3, 2004