Pau-Orthez kept its Group C hopes alive with a major upset on Wednesday as it topped host Real Madrid by 79-83 on the road the Spanish capital. A close game during the first three quarters went Pau's way with a 0-10 near the finish which started with Fred Fauthoux's four-point triple-plus-free throw to tie. Lonnie Cooper took it from there and Pau held off Louis Bullock's heroic attempt to steal the victory in the closing seconds for Madrid. The victory, Pau's second away from home, lifts its group record to 3-6, good for a fifth-place tie Montepaschi Siena. Real Madrid dropped to 5-4 and fourth place with its third consecutive defeat. Artur Drozdov led the way for the winners with 21 points while hitting an amazing 6 of 7 triples. Cooper added 18 points, Thierry Rupert had 15 and Brooks Sales posted 11. Bullock was the best scorer for the hosts with his 27 points while making 16 of 17 free throws. Igor Rakocevic, re-appearing after injury, added 16 points, Felipe Reyes and Mickael Gelabale 11 apiece for the hosts.
After Felipe Reyes opened the game with a layup for Madrid, Pau caught a quick roll of 8 consecutive points as Clint Harrison drove for a basket-plus-free throw, Thierry Rupert hit a layup and Artur Drozdov landed the game's first triple. Madrid answered with 5 stright points, including a three-pointer by Axel Hervelle that made it 7-8, but Pau had its confidence. Harrison and Brooks Sales made the next shots as the visitors got open underneath, and then Drozdov buried another one from downtown for a 9-15 Pau lead. Marko Tomas answered from the arc for Madrid but Pau's defense otherwise did the job in winning the first quarter, 12-17.
The defenses proved even more physical in the second quarter, when points came slowly while both Harrison and Gelabale left the court with foot injuries. Pau still held a 15-21 lead halfway through the quarter, but Rakocevic cut into it with his first three-pointer. Drozdov answered with his third from downtown, but when Louis Bullock canned a shot and Gelabale returned for a dunk, Mdrid was within 22-24. A couple minutes later, with free throws by Bullock and Rakocevic, the hosts had a 26-26 tie. Rupert and Xane D'Almeida would put Pau back ahead, 27-30, but when the last shot of the half went up, it was a triple by Gelabale that took back the lead for Madrid, 32-30.
Madrid made its move right after halftime as Rakocevic, Hervelle and Ryees combined on a 7-0 run that vaulted the hosts ahed 39-30. But Pau stayed right in the game as Rupert canned a pair of layups and Drozdov buried his fourth triple to keep the guests close. Only Rakocevic kept Madrid in front until Gelabale found another open shot from the corner to boost the lead to 48-43. Sales answered that with his own, however, and flurry of free throws left 53-47 score t the end of three quarters.
Drozdov's fifth three-pointer and a layup by Rupert set the tone in the fourth quarter. After Bullock free throws, the same pair did it in reverse for Pau. Rupert's free throws got the visitors closer and Drozdov - who else? from where else? - canned his sixth shot from arc to complete Pau's rlly with 55-57 led. When Madrid responded with the next 6 points, split between Rakocevic, Bullock and Reyes. Cooper's three-pointer was answered by an amazing loose-ball tip pass from Tomas to Hervelle for his own triple, and when Bullock hit a layup, Madrid led 66-62 with under 5 minutes left. But here came Pau. Frederic Fauthoux rallied his team with a four-point triple-plus-free throw to tie and start a 0-10 run that changed everything and gave the guests a 66-74 advantage going into the final minute. And a long minute it was, as Bullock and Gelebale hit triples between successive Madrid fouls. The free throw war continued until a Pau turnover with 5 seconds left gave Madrid a chance to tie or win on one shot. Bullock drove, but the shot was blocked and Fauthoux recovered to seal a major road win for Pau-Orthez.
Wednesday, January 4, 2006