Pepsi Caserta climbed atop the Group H standings and stayed undefeated after two games by beating Anwil Wloclawek 87-79 at home on Tuesday. Caserta improved to 2-0 and will fight to keep first place against Alba Berlin next week. Anwil dropped to 0-2 and needs to bounce back right away in order to keep its Last 16 chances alive. Jumaine Jones paced the winners with 20 points on 5-of-5 two-pointers. Luca Garri and Fabio Di Bella each added 13 for Caserta. Chris Thomas led Anwil with 18 points. Andrzej Pluta added 17 - most of them in an outstanding first half -, Nikola Jovanovic had 16 while Paul Miller and Eric Hicks each got 10 for the guests. Pluta shined early, allowing Anwil to get a 18-24 lead after 10 minutes. Anwil still led 39-44 at halfime but a 10-4 run after the break gave Caserta the lead for good, 49-48. The hosts led 71-63 midway through the fourth quarter and even when Hicks and Jovanovic brought Anwil within 75-72, Di Bella and Garri shined in crunch time to give Caserta its first home win in European club competitions since 1992.
Jones and Philip Martin shined early for Caserta but Anwil reacted trying to get its frontcourt involved. Hicks and Jovanovic stepped up for Anwil but Caserta kept running its offense through an unstoppable Jones, that had 8 points early in the game. Thomas tried to change things for Anwil but the guests found a go-to guy in Pluta, who simply took over late in this period. Pluta sank back-to-back three-pointers and added consecutive baskets to put Anwil ahead. He got some help from Miller to give the guests a 18-24 edge after 10 minutes. Caserta missed Eric Williams in the middle and Anwil kept playing at a high rhythm. Jones kept trying to change things for Caserta but got some help from Di Bella and Martin Colussi to return to the game, 32-35. Hicks stayed active under the boards but Anwil found answers from Thomas Celej, who had 6 points late in the first half. Free throws by Thomas and a final basket by Hicks allowed the guests to keep a 39-44 margin at the break.
Caserta kept trying to speed up the game tempo right after halftime through Jones and an inspired Ebi Ere, who had 4 quick points after the break. Soon after that, Timmy Bowers completed the hosts' comeback, 49-48, sending the crowd to their feet. Jovanovic scored again and Pluta struck from downtown but Di Bella stepped up with back-to-back baskets, Garri copied him soon after that and free throws by Aaron Doornekamp made it a five-point game, 60-55. Hicks and Jovanovic did not give up, however, bringing Anwil within 64-61 after 30 minutes. Lukasz Koszarek shined against his former team early in the fourth quarter, following free throws with a three-pointer in a 9-2 run that gave Caserta a 71-63 margin. Anwil was not done, however, as Jovanovic and Chris Thomas rescued the guests with free throws to make it a three-point game, 75-72, with 3 minutes left. Anwil kept committing turnovers and consecutive three-point plays by Di Bella and Garri allowed Caserta to register a big win.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010