With a great team effort Benetton Treviso beat Pamesa Valencia 90-72, knocking their visitors from a first-place tie in Group C, not to mention taking revenge for the hard blow suffered in Valencia last November. Benetton improved to 6-2 and shares the group lead only with Efes Pislen now, while Pamesa slipped to 5-3. Benetton took an early lead on Wednesday and never let Pamesa in the game. Jorge Garbajosa led the winners with 18 points. Benetton also got great contributions from Tyus Edney, with 17 points and 6 assists, and Denis Marconato, with 12 points, but it was the whole team that demonstrated unity and the potential to dominate even the top Euroleague teams. Pamesa got a good performance from Fabricio Oberto, who finished with 18 points, but lacked outside shooting from Antoine Rigaudeau and Alejandro Montecchia. Benetton's defense deserved credit for having slowed all the Spanish guards and never allowing Dejan Tomasevic open underneath the basket. The absence of Alessandro Abbio and Demos Dikoudis was felt heavily by Pamesa, as much as the absence of Marcelo Nicola and Garbajosa was felt in the first matchup between the teams.
Edney started the game with a three-point shot, which was quickly followed by a layup by Garbajosa. Garbajosa then made a shot from 5 meters and caused problems to Valencia's inside players. In three minutes he scored 7 points, and the first basket by Tomasevic made the score 11-2 for the home team. Pamesa tried to counter the Benetton flow, attempting shots from long range, but the accuracy of the Spanish shooters was not good enough. Six points from Oberto closed the gap to 20-10 for Benetton, but Garbajosa continued his personal show. The first quarter ended with four free throws made by Benetton, making the score 30-18.
A quick 4-0 run to start the second quarter propelled by Giovannoni and Evans brought Treviso up by 16 points. 5 points by Edney increased the Treviso lead to 41-24. Pamesa continued to struggle on offense, trying to find answers from a frustrated Rigaudeau held quiet by Evans and Bulleri. Kemmericks came off the bench and his 4 points helped Pamesa to remain in the game. But a layup by Garbajosa and 4 points by Pittis (with 2-2 from the charity stripe) ignited a Benetton break that became a 9-0 partial. At the end of the quarter, Oberto commited his third foul and Rigaudeau committed another turnover to the delight of the Treviso public. The quarter ended with the score 51-28, not leaving to a confused Pamesa Valencia too many hopes for the remaining of the game.
The third foul of Tomasevic left the crowd expecting a blowout by Benetton, but in the third quarter the home team started to miss open shots and Pamesa's execution improved. Benetton tried too hard to attack Oberto and Tomasevic, forcing one on one instead of looking for team-oriented basketball. Even if Rigaudeau was not scoring as usual, Oberto was found open several times and Kemmerich scored from the free throw line, marking a 2-10 break that made the score 61-51. But once again Jorge Garbajosa came to the rescue, scoring from long distance and finding Tyus Edney open for a crucial three point shot. Oberto missed a couple of free throws and the score was fixed at 66-51 after Pamesa outscored the hosts 15-23 in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was opened by a Marconato dunk over Tomasevic, who was handcuffed on defense because of his three fouls. Rigaudeau laid in a left-handed layup to keep the Spanish hopes intact, but Edney decided to take over the game. With a couple of penetrations the former UCLA point guard made Montecchia commit his 4th and 5th foul, leaving Pamesa without an effective playmaker to help Oberto and to feed the shooters. Giovannoni scored 5 quick points with a layup and a three-point shot, and the scores went to 73-53. Kammericks and Popovic tried to take over on offense but Treviso's defense was too much to overcome. Treviso ran the fast break and the audience was thrilled by an Uros Slokar alley oop fed by Giovannoni. Finally Pamesa found its long distance shooting, but it was too late to give them a true opportunity to get back in the game. Benetton slowed the pace and the distance remained between 15 and 20 points until the final buzzer sounded and the score was 90-72.
Wednesday, January 7, 2004