Opel Skyliners bounced back from a pair of initial blowout losses in Group C by registering a big victory of their own, 87-62 over visiting Pau-Orthez at home in Frankfurt on Wednesday. Both teams are now tied in the Group C table with 1-2 records. Chris Williams was the man of the game for Opel with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals. Tyrone Ellis added 21 points and 8 rebounds, while Pascal Roller had 12 points for the Skyliners. Another key factor was center Malick Badiane, intimidating Pau's frontcourt with 4 blocks while adding 2 wild dunks in a game-breaking 18-2 run in the third period. Mire Chatman was the only Pau-Orthez player in double digits with 23 points and added 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Opel had an aggressive start, grabbing 2 offensive rebounds in the opening possession to feed Ellis for an easy layup. Robert Maras followed a layup with a mid-range jumper and a put-back to give Opel a 8-3 margin. Pau called timeout, as Chatman could not stop Roller, who found Maras near the basket time and again. The timeout worked as Davor Marcelic stepped up with a three, and John Petro added a dunk to tie the game at 8-8. Pau, which also improved its man-to-man defense, got its first lead at 10-11 with another bomb from downtown by Marcelic. Opel reacted with 5 quick points by Ellis in a 7-0 run capped by Jukka Matinen's fastbreak dunk. Chatman drilled a three to wake up Pau, and even when Matinen and Williams fired back for the Skyliners, Chatman made a three-point play to bring Pau within 22-19 after 10 minutes.
Mlajden Sljivancanin powered the Skyliners early in the second quarter with 2 steals and a three-pointer, but his team went scoreless for the next 3 minutes. Meanwhile, Dzenan Rahimic and Thierry Gadou each had 3 points in a 0-6 Pau run which tied the game again at 25-25. The hosts missed 4 shots in a row until Williams made a put-back layup, which Gadou matched in the other end. The Skyliners called timeout to discuss their struggling offense, and Williams stepped up with 4 points around the basket for a 31-29 Opel edge. Pau tried to play with long possessions, but its shooters were off-target. Meanwhile, Badiane blocked Rahimic's shot, while Roller drilled a three in the other end to boost the Skyliners to a 38-36 advantage at halftime.
Rahimic was the only player to score in first 3 minutes after halftime, tying the game at 38-38. The Skyliners missed 5 consecutive shots until Roller drilled his second three-pointer. Defenses took over, with blocked shots at both ends of the floor. Roller followed Badiane's third block with a fastbreak layup for a 43-38 Skyliners lead. Pau fired back, as Chatman and Sourata Cisse made layups to tie 43-43. It didn't last long, as Ellis added two outstanding layups in penetration and Williams free throws for a new 50-43 Opel margin. Badiane intimidated anyone near the hosts' basket and added a huge dunk. Ellis followed with a three to boost Opel's lead to 55-45 after 28 minutes. After a Pau timeout, Sljivancanin and Ellis made a three-pointer each, while Badiane finished the quarter with another power dunk, capping an 18-2 run to a 63-45 Skyliners margin entering the fourth.
Pau needed a quick comeback to get back into the game, but it just didn't happen, as the Skyliners kept full control. Roller hit one from beyind the arc to make it a 20-point game, 66-46. Pau still had troubles to score, as the guests only added 5 free throws in more than 6 minutes in which they missed all their 9 field goal attempts. Even with that, free throws by Chatman and Rahimic brought Pau within 66-50 with 7 minutes to go. The Skyliners called timeout, and extended its possession to almost the shot clock limit, while powering the offensive rebound for second options. It worked, as Pau ran out of patience, looking for quick, off-target shots. Ellis scored to power a 9-2 run capped by Williams' alleyoop dunk, which sealed the Skyliners' first Euroleague win of the season in style.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004