Cibona beat Union Olimpija 77-61 in Zagreb
Cibona opened the 2006-07 Euroleague regular season with a big home win against a well-known opponent in Group B, as it beat Union Olimpija 77-61 in Zagreb, Croatia on Thursday. Cibona improved to 1-0 and will visit mighty Panathinaikos next Thursday, while Olimpija fell to 0-1 but hosts Lottomatica Roma on Wednesday. Chris Warren led the winners with 21 points while Brent Wright and Jurica Zuza each had 13 for Cibona. Saso Ozbolt had 13 points for Olimpija, Ivica Jurkovic added 12 and Marko Milic 10 for the guests. Zuza had 11 points in the final 6 minutes of the first half to lead Cibona to a 37-31 lead at the break. Back-to-back triples by Ozbolt brought Olimpija within 44-40, but Warren and Marin Rozic fueled a 16-2 run which allowed Cibona to get a 60-48 margin after 30 minutes. Olimpija never recovered, as Marijan Mance and Kus led Cibona to a well-deserved home win.
Wright opened fire and soon both teams traded baskets for an early 4-4. Wright scored again to match Milic's 4 points while the game increased its pace with both teams running. Cibona seemed to get the most of that situation when Warren made it 8-10 and Kus 9-10 with a free throw. Milic stayed on fire for Olimpija as he scored to tie 12-12 after Warren's three. Kus also sank a bomb after good ball circulation in offense from Cibona. The hosts tightened their defense as Marton Bader locked Wright's drive, but the latter made up soon with a layup for 17-14. However a free throw by Saso Ozbolt and a last basket after steal by Jurkovic made it 17-17 after 10 minutes.
Warren slammed the ball for Cibona but Domen Lorbek lifted a layup for a quick 21-19. Wright paced Cibona through the next moments as he scored and rebounded to make it 25-19, but Manuchar Markoishvili replied with a fastbreak. Jurica Zuza appeared with five straight points for Cibona and a maximum lead of 30-21. An unsportsmanlike foul called on Kus allowed Teemu Rannikko to score twice from the line, but Jerry McCullough connected a three for a double-digit lead, 33-23. Zuza put back an offensive rebound, but Rannikko scored an easy jumper for the guests and Saulius Kuzminskas added a triple, but only after Zuza's 11th point, which allowed Cibona to get a 37-31 edge at halftime.
Five straight points by Warren pushed Cibona again when the second half started. Ozbolt blasted two triples himself to erase Wright's new basket and put a 44-40 score as Olimpija was alive and kicking. Wright blasted in his own three-point play to save Cibona, but Kuzminksas insisted from the low post and Warren had his own reply from the arc. The double-digit lead was back on the scoreboard when Marin Rozic hit the bottom of the net for 52-42 and forced a new Olimpija timeout. Two straight breaks by Warren and Rozic sparked a new burst of Cibona for 56-42, but Lorbek and Jurkovic hit back to back triples to save the moment for Olimpija, 56-48. McCullough scored the last basket of the quarter for a Cibona 60-48 lead after 30 minutes.
Lorbek tried to ignit the Olimpija comeback with a mid-range jumper but Mance matched it in the other end to make Cibona keep a 62-50. Rizvic scored around the basket, but points came the hard way for both teams now. Olimpija called timeout, but Mance punished his former team with a three-pointer which gave Cibona a 65-52 lead. Olimpija finally managed to shut down Cibona's offense, while Jurkovic slashed to bring the guests within 65-54. The guests kept struggling to score, however, while a free throw by the ever-present Mance made it a 12-point game, 66-54, midway through the final period. Olimpija needed a wild rally now but all its shooters were off-target in crunch time. The guests went scoreless for 2 minutes until Jurkovic buried a triple from the top of the key, but it happened to be too little, too late for Olimpija. Kus followed free throws with a corner three-pointer, enough for Cibona to seal the win, 72-58, already in the final 2 minutes.
Thursday, October 26, 2006