A crowd of 5,215 spectators in Pesaro, Italy ended up cheering the first Euroleague victory of Scavolini versus one of the hottest teams in Europe, Cibona Zagreb, by 88-75 on Wednesday in a Group D battle. As such, Scavolini erases the memory of its loss on opening day by dominating the team that had beaten the best four teams from last season - Kinder Bologna, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Tau Cerámica and Panathinaikos - in the last three weeks. The main contributors for the winners were Miroslav Beric, with 23 points, Joseph Blair, with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Melvin Booker with 19 points. Reggie Freeman posted 15 points for the losers, as did Calvin Bowman and Marjan Mance. Both teams are now at 1-1, as are four other teams in Group D.
What happened to the dominator of the Euroleague Opening Tournament and overtime winner against Tau Vitoria in the season opener? Scavolini Pesaro flattened them with an incredible first period, a 16-2 run in less than five minutes that featured defense, fastbreaks and a dunk by Melvin Booker to close it. Cibona's first field goal came after six minutes, by Marijan Mance, but Croatian team's bad form was also evident at the defensive end, too, as it allowed Scavolini to a 30-12 lead at the end of the first period. Nothing changed in the second period. For Scavolini, it was a little bit difficult to mantain concentration, but a Beric-to-Blair alleyoop woke everybody up again, especially. Cibona woke up, too, putting together a 4-13 run that cut the devicit to 42-31 with a minute to go. But a third three-pointer by Beric on a missed defensive switch allowed Scavolini to end the first half ahead 47-31 and walk off the floor to a standing ovation
The third period started with two free throws scored by Beric for a tecnichal foul called against Cibona during halftime. The game went slowly until another alley-oop slammed again by Blair and more outside sniping by Beric indicated that Cibona could not find a way to stop the Italian ballers. An ineffective 2-3 zone invited yet another three-pointer from Beric and the period ended with Pesaro ahead 71-54. A 0-9 run that bridged the final two periods wasn't even enough for Cibona to threaten a comeback from huge game-long deficits. The visitors were still down 13, then a Blair fastbreak lay-up and a Larry Middleton three-pointer signalled the beginning of the end.
Wednesday, October 17, 2001