Just when it needed one most, Pau-Orthez shook off injuries and registered its first home win of the season in something of an upset, 79-72 over dangerous Benetton Treviso in Group C on Wednesday. The inspiring victory was led by Euroleague assist king Mire Chatman, who did double duty as a scorer this time, and finished with 30 points for the winners. Pau raised its record to 2-4 while dropping Benetton into a four-way tie for second place at 3-3. Pau played without injured starters Artur Drozdov and Laurent Foirest, while Benetton did so without a late absence, Ramunas Siskauskas. A back-and-forth game went Pau's way following a decisive 19-2 run in the third quarter. Thierry Rupert had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds for the winners, while Davor Marcelic chipped in 12 points and Johan Petro 10. Marlon Garnett posted 21 for Benetton, Matteo Soragna tallied 19 and Marcus Goree drilled 12.
Soragna replaced Siskaus in Benetton's starting lineup, but it was Garnett and Denis Marconato who combined to put the guests ahead 0-5. Petro converted an offensive rebound for Pau's first points, but Goree struck from downtown before Rupert found 4 quick points to make it 6-8. Back-to-back triples by Goree and Garnett and a three-point-play of Chatman fixed a 9-14 scoreboard midway through the quarter. A jump-hook posted by Petro ended 2 scoreless minutes, then Chatman and Rupert cut the difference to 15-16, before Frederic Fauthoux put the hosts up 20-18 on a fastbreak three-pointer. Chatman soon copied him to preserve a 23-21 Pau advantage after 10 minutes.
Chatman showed himself to be Benetton's biggest threat when he started the second quarter with 4 straight points. Soragna responded with 5 points in a 0-8 Benetton run, including the triple that put his team ahead at 27-29. After Petro tied it, Marconato started a new Benetton run of 12 unanswered points that featured triples by Bulleri and Soragna, who finished it with free throws as the visitors blasted ahead by 12 points, 29-41, just 3 minutes before halftime. Petro again stepped up for Pau and then Chatman came to the rescue with 5 consecutive points to pull the hosts within 36-41. Soragna from the corner chipped in a triple from the corner and Petro scored 2 free throws as Benetton pulled into the half leading 38-44.
Davor Marcelic got Pau going after the break and Chatman followed him in a 5-0 start that got the hosts within 43-44. Benetton needed more than 2 minutes to score, but after Goree did so, Chatman raised and scored from beyond the arc to give himself 22 points already and Pau a new lead, 48-46. After T.J. Lux scored his second and third baskets of the quarter for Pau, Marcelic capped a 19-2 run with a triple that put the hosts in control at 57-46. Benetton committed flagrant fouls and suffered 24-seconds violations during the run, and after a timeout, tried a zone defense. But Rupert grabbed and converted an offensive rebound before Chatman pumped in a jump shot to preserve a 64-52 cushion for the hosts after 30 minutes.
Benetton was back to a man-to-man defense to start the last quarter, and Soragna scored driving to the rim, but after 2 otherwise scoreless minutes, Chatman popped from outside for a 66-54 Pau advantage. Garnett was back to score a triple and cut the margin to 68-59, but Lux and Rupert scored back-to-back baskets right after that. Benetton continued having trouble getting points as Pau controlled the key rebounds near the end of the game. Rupert increased the margin to 77-61, which meant that even while Benetton didn't give up, its 0-7 run was short as Chatman made a late steal and dunk to seal his team's all-important second victory in Group C.
Wednesday, December 8, 2004