Having won its first-ever Euroleague game on the road a week earlier, RheinEnergie Cologne now has its first streak after outgunning Prokom Trefl Sopot 84-80 in Group A on Thursday. RheinEnergie, playing in its home away from home of Dusseldorf, Germany, lifted its record to 2-3, the same as Prokom and Le Mans, all in fifth place. RheinEnergie turned a tough game around in the middle quarters and then withstood a Prokom charge at the end. Marcus Faison kept playing strong for the winners, with 22 points and only 2 missed shots on the night. Aleksandar Nadjfeji sparked the turnaround with 16 points, while Marcin Gortat added 14 and Demond Mallet 11. Prokom, which had led much of the first half, got 17 points from Michael Andersen, 13 form Donatas Slanina and 12 from Jasmin Hukic.
RheinEnergiestarted strong as Marcin Gortat opened the game with a tip-in and a block on defense. Tomas Masiulis scored Prokom's first points on a hook shot that was answered by a three-pointer from Mallet for RheinEnergie, who soon left with his second foul. But even without Mallett, RheinEnergiewent on a run fueled by Faison's three-pointer and a layup and free throw by Gortat, good for a 12-6 scoreboard. Prokom answered when Hukic got hot and he hit a midrange jumper plus 2 three-pointers to blast his team in front, 12-14. Next, Rashid Atkins found Masiulis for an open layup-plus-free throw. Turnovers kept plaguing Cologne, while Prokom now went to Wojcik inside for 7 points in succession. McElroy hit a layup off a nice feed by Nadjfeji, but Prokom was still in control, 18-26, after 10 minutes.
After Hukic hit a layup down low to start the second quarter, RheinEnergie fought back with an 8-0 run full of easy layups, half of those points by Nadjfeji. Dalmau ended Prokom's drought with a three-pointer to keep the guests ahead 26-31. Nadjfeji scored with some nice footwork on the low block, and Masiulis answered by scoring off an assist by Wojcik. Nadjefeji hit free throws for his seventh and eight points of the quarter. The teams traded baskets as Donatas Slanina scored twice with layups and Guido Gründheid answered with a basket inside and free throws to make it 38-39. Prokom extended its lead on a layup by Jeff Nordgaard and free throws by Filip Dylewicz. But Faison hit four in a row from the line to narrow the difference to 42-43 after two quarters.
RheinEnergie emerged from the locker room looking determined as Mallett hit a long jumper and a three-pointer for his team's first lead since the middle of the first quarter. After a monstrous block by Gortat, Ronald Burrell scored on the break to make it 49-45 for the hosts. Both teams’ defenses dominated as the score remained unchanged until Wojcik drove to the hole and dunked in the 25th minute. But RheinEnergie answered with another 8-0 run, capped by a nice pass from Emmanuel McElroy to Gortat for an easy score that made it 57-47. Prokom went more than 3 minutes without scoring until Slanina hit free throws. Grundheid and Faison scored for RheinEnergie, while Prokom got points only at the line until Andersen sank an open jump shot to cut the lead to 62-54 after 30 minutes.
At the beginning of the decisive quarter, Prokom looked to Andersen down low, and the big man answerwed with 7 or his team's next 9 points. Nadjfeji was doing the damage for RheinEnergie, feeding Burrell for a dunk and Mallet for a three-pointer before scoring inside off a McElroy assist. Next, it was Gortat's turn to score on 3 free throws and a jumper to make it 76-63. But the visitors were not through. Again, it was Andersen who fought back with a three-point play and 2 free throws for Prokom. Next, Slanina hit a triple in transition and Atkins forced a halfcourt violation and then scored from outside, too, bringing prokom within 76-74. Nadjfeji snatched a key offensive rebound then and, after being fouled, made both foul shots. After both teams traded free throws, Andersen’s layup made it 80-78 with 40 seconds left. Mallet ran into trouble under the basket, but Faison recovered the near-turnover and hit a foul-line jumper to give RheinEnergiea a four-point lead, 82-78. After Solina and Faison hit free throws, RheinEnergie forced a turnover by Nordgaard on the sideline and ran out the remaining seconds to celebrate its first home win.
Thursday, November 23, 2006