DKV Joventut took a big step toward the second phase of the ULEB Cup on Tuesday by defeating Telekom Baskets Bonn by 88-72 in Group A. With this result, Joventut also overcame the accumulated three-point deficit with Bonn from their first game, which may come in handy at the end. Joventut is now 4-3 and tied for second place in Group A with both Snaidero Udine and Ural Great. Telekom Bonn fell to fifth place at 3-4. The man of the game was center Zan Tabak, who pulled the offensive boards that got the hosts vital points in the last quarter. Tabak had a huge double-double of 20 points and 17 rebounds. Juan Alberto Espil also nailed 20 points, while Maceo Baston and Paco Vazquez tallied 10 each. For Bonn, Aleksandar Nadjfeji hit 17 points, Brian Brown added 14 and Oluoma Nnamaka contributed 11.
The first 10 minutes of the game went by under domination of the guests, who in minute 6 were already 12 points ahead, 4-16. Aleksandar Radojevic covered his space under the rim perfectly on defense, while Terence Rencher, Brown and Nadjfeji put in almost every single shot. After the first timeout called by Joventut, the hosts started to improve its game little by little. After a three and a fastbreak by Espil, Joventut pulled within 11-16, which forced Predrag Krunic to call a timeout for Telekom Bonn. After 10 minutes, the German team was ahead by just 3 points, 15-18, but two free throws by Maceo Baston and a steal by Carles Marco gave the hosts the first lead, 19-18. The game entered a phase of equality with constant changes in the lead. Suleyman Drame enjoyed great minutes then while the third foul by Nadjfeji in minute 19 with 33-32 forced him back to the bench. After a good defense, Rafa Jofresa hit the three for his team's biggest lead, 37-32, but the reply arrived from Nnamaka, a three and a layup for Bonn to come within 39-37 at the break.
In the third quarter, Krunic took risks by playing Nadjfeji but things didn't work out well, as the forward was quickly called his fourth foul and had to sit again. After a three by Jofresa and a Tabak's layup, Joventut managed to take a wider lead for 50-42, but Brown fixed things up for Bonn. If Brad Traina had not missed a free throw with 2 seconds to go in the quarter, the difference would have been the same as at halftime, but as it was, Joventut led 58-55 after 30 minutes . The game remained balanced until the last 5 minutes. Maybe the key moment was the free throw missed by Nadjfeji after a bsket for 66-66. Instead of the 66-67, a three by Vazquez landed on Bonn's basket and Tabak, the best man of the game, added 2 more points that would trigger Joventut's burst, a 24-6 run over 4 minutes to break the game open.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002