Tau Ceramica of Spain has defended its home court and put up its first win of the new Euroleague season in rather dominating fashion on Wednesday, treating visitors Adecco Asvel Basket of France to a 90-66 rout in Group D action. Tau's defense came together like a gloved fist around Asvel's attempts to score, and as the French visitors had little chance to revive themselves after falling down by 30 before halftime. Laurent Foirest led four Tau scorers into double figures with 20 points. Luis Scola came next with 19 off the bench. Dejan Tomasevic and Fabricio Oberto added 17 and 16, respectively, highlighting Tau's inside presence throughout the contest. Kyle Hill had 21 points to pace Asvel, which can take stock in the fact that at the end of the game it was tied with Tau in the results column at 1-1.
After the first minutes, full of mistakes for both sides, it was time for Tau's festival to begin. Playing at home, Tau's fierce defense put the French team in an extremely oppressive situation. Tau's basket seemed to be locked for Bodgan Tanjevic's players. On offense, meanwhile, a series of excellent plays by Scola (assisted by Tomasevic), a three by Foirest and Scola returning the gift assisting Tomasevic, built a 13-0 run as Tau ran out ahead, 28-7. In the second period, despite Dusko Ivanovic's changes, Tau's game didn't seem to decrease its level. With Corchiani and Bennett (two guards) together at some points of the period, and the youngster Sergi Vidal in place of Timinskas, Tau was able to put Asvel down. The shooting figures were perfect for Tau: 3-for-3 three-pointers, 16-for-23 from the field (70%) and 11 of 16 free throws against 1-for-5 threes, 9 of 16 twos and 1 of 2 free throws for Asvel. Tanjevic used all the strategies he had available, but nothing could stop Tau.
With such a lead as huge as 30 points at half time (52-22) it was to be expected that Tau would relax a bit after the effort of the first half, something that Asvel, with some more order in defense, took advantage of to cut the deficit a little bit. The period ended with a partial score of 8-14 for the French squad (60-46), enough though to raise anger in Dusko Ivanovic, who asked his players to step on the gas again and play with the intensity shown during the first two quarters. And they made it. With an outrageous 11-0 run right at the beginning for 71-46, Tau put things back to their place and from there offered big showtime to its loyal fans. A spectacular double-pass between Tomasevic and Oberto, with a blind pass from the Yugoslavian ended in the hands of the Argentinian who dunked the ball and brought ecstasy to the Fernando Buesa Arena. Sergi Vidal reappeared and scoerd the last two points with an excellent lay up for the final 90-66. The result on the scoreboard says it all. The difference in the rebounding and assisting figures too: 28-12 rebounds and 15-3 assists for Tau, of course. Definitely, it wasn't the best night for McGhee, Sy, Mrazek, Frigout and Co.
Wednesday, October 17, 2001