KK Zadar took an important road win on Tuesday night at Chorale Roanne by 66-84. The Croatian team jumped ahead early on thanks to good percentages from the arc and was dominating by 16 points at the break, but Roanne managed to trim the deficit down to 7 points, 47-54 in minute 27. However, Zadar responded with a 0-14 run entering in the last quarter that sealed the deal. With the win, Zadar improves to 2-1 in Group A for a first-place tie with ASK Riga, while Roanne and Maroussi Costa Coffe close the group with a 1-2. Six Zadar players scored in double digits. Rok Stipcevic led them all with 17 points, Todor Gecevski added 12, Hrvoje Peric and Juby Johnson posted 11 apiece and Tomislav Ruzic and Marlon Garnett helped with 10 each. For Roanne, Chris Monroe had 17 points and Mohamed Kone added 12.
Mohamed Kone opened the game in style for Chorale Roanne thanks to his three-pointer, but four straight points by Todor Gecevski put Zadar ahead for the first time, 3-4. Chris Monroe and Juby Johnson exchanged boms to fire up the offense on both sides, as good percentages from the arc were features for both teams in the first quarter. Curtis Sumpter fired in a new three to toe the game at 13-13 but Rok Stpicevic responded in the same way one minute later for 15-19. With a 0-6 run including a new three by Marlon Garnett, Zadar closed the first quarter pulling away to 17-25. The advantage of the hosts reached double digits soon in the second quarter when Stipcevic hit a new three for 19-30 and a 5 of 9 from the arc for Zadar, while Roanne dropped to 3 of 11. Monroe and Sumpter kept the hosts alive with their points but Zadar always managed to find the corect answer to all the attempts by the hosts to be back into the game, as Tomislave Ruzic made it 26-37 with a new bomb. Hrvoje Peric hits his own four points from the paint to push Zadar even more, and Damir Rancic soon added a new Zadar three, but Marc-Antoine Pellin finally scored for Roanne to make it 33-49 at the break.
The second half started a little better for Roanne as Karim Souch slammed the ball to make it a 10-5 start for the hosts that put a 43-54 on the scoreboard, forcing Zadar's timeout. However, Kone copied Souchu soon and not only that, but he also drew a foul to make it a 46-54 with his three points. As it could have been predicted, Zadar's three-point accuracy started to drop to normal levels, only it did on the worst possible time, until Johnson stepped up again to make it a 10-point game again, 47-57 in minute 27. That seemd to spark Zadar back into life and soon, the gap had increased to 47-65 after the run capped by Stipcevic's new three to close the third period. The last period started with a 0-6 Zadar burst to pour more salt in the wound of the hosts, but Monroe finally hit a couple threes to give some air to Roanne, but Zadar was not intimidated and kept looking for Stipcevic and Gecevski to maintain the distance. Kone and Garnett exhanged new baskets entring a territory that was good only for Zadar, as the clock ticked away and the difference in the score remained steady around the 20-point mark, allowing Zadar to escape from France with the valuable win that could prove decisive at the end of the regular season in tight Group A.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008