Benetton Baskets Bwin battled back from a 7-point deficit with five minutes remaining to beat Chorale Roanne 79-84 and remain undefeated through five Eurocup games. Benetton clinched the top spot in Group F with the win, while dropping Roanne to a 0-5 record. Donatas Motiejunas paced Benetton with 17 points, while Devin Smith scored 15 and Alessandro Gentile and Ryan Toolson added 12 apiece, with Jakub Wojciechowski accounting for 10. Chorale Roanne had strong efforts by Uche Nsonwu, who scored 15 points, Pape Amagou, with 14, K.C. Rivers 12, and Jean Mipoka 10.
Benneton started focused, with a 0-6 run to which Roanne responded by going inside to Nsonwu, and he came through for an early 6-6 tie. The big man kept the hosts in the game throughout the quarter, as Amagou controlled the backcourt and Benetton was limited to only one Toolson triple in the first 10 minutes. Roanne took the lead after an Alex Dunn dunk that made it 17-16. Gentile and Rivers traded bombs to start the second quarter and it looked like a good old fashioned shootout early as Motejiunas put the visitors ahead with a three-point play and Gentile went off with a dunk and a triple to make it 29-33. With Benetton determined to grab hold of the group’s first spot and not let go, the visitors went to work on defense and started forcing Roanne turnovers, disrupting the backcourt and trying to deny Nsonwu’s post presence. Rivers was able to break free for a triple and Amagou scored a layup as the hosts stayed in the hunt and got to within 37-39. Benetton spaced the floor well and shot with high percentages, but Roanne was able to enter the break feeling good about its chances after an Alex Gordon three and Amagou bucket left things at 43-44.
Roanne felt even better after Alexis Tanghe and Braud scored the second half’s first two baskets to go ahead, 47-44. With 10 minutes to go and their first Eurocup win at stake, Roanne went ahead 65-61 on a Gordon three pointer, but Smith answered quickly before Amagou hit another. With the hosts looking to Nsonwu in the post and attacking the basket with aggression, they were able to build a 73-66 lead with five minutes left, their maximum advantage when it seemed most important. But Benetton then showed why they are undefeated in the tournament and clawed themselves back with a Motiejunas dunk and Smith three that tightened the gap to 75-73 with two minutes left. Peric tied the game from the line. With intense defensive pressure mounting from the visitors, Amagou turned it over and Toolson capitalized for a layup layup. Rivers then answered with a triple that gave the lead back to Roanne with a minute to go, but it would be the last one for the hosts, as Smith answered with a jumper and Toolson regained his shooting stroke at the best time possible, burying a dagger three that made it 78-82 for Benetton. Rivers split a pair of free throws for Roanne’s last points and Peric sealed the deal, again from the line, for Benetton, convincingly crowned as the king of Group F.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010