In dire need of another victory Group D before the halfway mark in the ULEB Cup regular season, Real Madrid made plenty sure it got one when it blasted visiting Dexia Mons-Hainaut 89-72 on Tuesday. Madrid is now 2-3 and sits alone in fourth place in Group D, and just as importantly dropped Mons to 1-4. Madrid parlayed a push late in the first quarter to leads hovering around 20 points in the second and third. Mons fought back to within single digits again late in the fourth quarter, but ran out of time for a miracle rally. Alex Mumbru hit 4 of 6 three-pointer to lead the winners with 19 points. Ratko Varda added 14, Alex Hervelle 12, Raul Lopez and Charles Smith 10 each. Madrid's 40-21 advantage on the boards, paced by Hervelle's 8 rebounds, made a big difference. Shawnta Rogers poured in 18 points and dished 6 assists for Mons. George Evans added 17 points and Jim Potter 14.
Mons got off to a promising start as Evans drew a foul and made a free throw before Potter popped a triple for a 2-4 lead. Madrid didn't move ahead until Varda's second basket dropped to make it 8-6. Soon after that, however, Mons was able to tie twice, when Mathias Desaever drove at 8-8 and Shawnta Rogers knocked down a three-pointer for 12-12. Only when Eduardo Hernandez-Sonseca scored ahead of back-to-back dunks by Charles Smith did Madrid escape for what turned out to be a 20-15 edge after 10 minutes. Louis Bullock added a three-point play and Raul Lopez a three-point shot to Madrid's lead at the start of the second quarter. The hosts kept pulling away to a first double-digit lead, 27-17, on a Smith free throw, and soon to wider advantages as Mumbru scored his first layup and Lopez another triple. Even as Mons started to score, Mumbru held down the guests with a pair of shots from the arc that made it 38-25. The second of those started a 9-0 run in which Hernandez-Sonseca dunked and Hervelle hit a layup to flirt with a 20-point lead, 44-25. It was all Mons could do to get 6 points from Potter before the half ended 45-31 in favor of the hosts.
Nice ball movement freed Mumbru in the corner for his fourth three-pointer of the night. That let Madrid play easily without risking the lead for the rest of the quarter, in which the hosts held onto sizable differences. Mons allowed Hernandez-Sonseca to got to the free-throw line and Nenad Sinanovic to take easy jumpers. Rogers tried to ignite a reaction in the visitors with a steal and a three-pointer, but Madrid did not shake and was able to maintain a 20-point difference, 72-52, with one quarter left to play. Kevin Houston and Smith exchanged three-point shots to start the fourth quarter. Mons got a huge dunk from Nicholson between Sinanovic and Varda, then a steal by Evans allowed the visitors to reduce the gap 77-60 with 6 minutes left. Evans and Rogers kept the rally alive with a layup each, forcing a Madrid timeout at 77-64, and then the same two combined to convert consecutive steals to cut the difference to single digits, 79-70. Madrid had gone scoreless for 3 minutes, but now Lopez got to the line and hit both free throws, and Marko Tomas drew copied him for an 85-72 difference with 90 seconds left. Hervelle added a dunk and a tip-in to make sure as Madrid added a much-needed victory in Group D.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006