In a crucial game to survive in the fight to reach the berth in the second round, Opel Skyliners defeated Pivovarna Lasko 75-68 at home in Frankfurt to force a real race for the last two spots available in Group B. Both Skyliners and Pivovarna are now 3-5 and tied for fourth place, one victory behind third-place Eurocellulari Roseto. The top two teams, FMP Zeleznik and Pamesa Valencia, have qualified, while last-place Oostende is eliminated already. On Wednesday, Skyliners had another good performance from its big men, including 12 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocks by Mario Kasun. The winners were led in scoring by the duo of Robert Garrett and Pascal Roller, who both netted 15 points. Forwards Jukka Matinen and Andrzej Kwiatkowski added 11 and 10, respectively. The home team dominated under the boards with 37 rebounds pulled down against just 23 for Pivovarna, with Robert Maras grabbing 10 as best rebounder for the winners. As usual the best contributor for Pivovarna Lasko has been guard Kenyan Weaks with 25 points. Dragan Dojcin added 12 and Ermal Kuqo followed with 10 points for the visitors.
The game was close throughout the first two quarters, with the two teams taking slim advantages and showed fine defensive performnaces Opel was ahead after 10 minutes, 18-12, while in the second period the amazing night of Weaks gave to Lasko the way to rally and tie the game at the buzzer, 34-34. Both teams knew how important this win would be to survive or to make a decisive step, so the third period was nervous, with poor percentages a 17-14 partial for the hosts and Kasun dominating under the glasses. In the last period, Pascal and Garrett showed good accuracy from the line, while none of the Slovenians was able to score from behind the arc. Neither did Skyliners giv e the guests any opportunities to get offensive rebounds. Skyliners not only took the victory, but also overcame the four-point advantage by which Pivovarna won their first meeting. In the event of a head-to-head tie between the two teams, Skyliners would win.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002