In a show of force in Group C, Krka of Novo Mesto won big on the court of Generali Group Trieste, 70-87, dominating the game for all the 40 minutes. Krka felt little pressure against an Italian League power on its own floor as it controlled the game throughout. Trieste tried to come back with a good reaction in the third period, but only got as close as 3 points before Krka started taking off again. The scoring leader of the night was Aleksandar Capin of Novo Mesto, who bagged 23 points. Jamie Arnold also netted 16 for Slovenians, while Slavko Duscak and Marko Maravic added 15 each. For the home team, Nate Erdmann led the scorers with 16 points, but that was well below his average. Samuele Podesta tallied 15 and Sinisa Kelecevic posted 12 others.
The game started balanced, with both teams trading small leads until Daniel Cavaliero tied it for Trieste, 15-15, with a mid-range jumper. But now the Slovenian guests, led by Slavko Duscak, made a 0-7 run to take a first solid lead, 16-22 at the end of 10 minutes. In the second period Krka went running in the open court behind Capin who, kept both the home point guards, Cavaliero and Ivica Maric, quite busy. Poor shooting by the locals didn't help stop Krka's lead from growing 18-29 as Arnold started dominating under boards, with 10 rebounds on the first hal. Erdmann tried to boost Trieste with a 6-0 run to make it 26-34 with 4 minutes left until the half. But Krka answered with 8 straight points, and a pair of free throws by Milos Paravinja gave the guests their biggest advantage, 26-42. Trieste was able to reduce the gap a little, to 33-47, after 20 minutes.
Trieste went on the floor with a more intensity to attempt a comeback after the break, but Krka was alert and managed the situation until Erdmann slammed the ball to pull the locals within just 8 points, 46-54. Krka coach Neven Spahjia promptly called a timeout from there, but one guy who was hurting Trieste, Slavko Duscak, was called for a fourth foul and left the game. Trieste got back within 57-60 on 6 straight points by Podesta and free throws by Cavaliero. Novo Mesto showed accuracy now from the charity stripe and a final steal with easy layup by Capin estabilished another good advantage for guests, 57-65.
Podesta scored to get Trieste within 6 at the start of the last period, but Krka got to running again thanks its good defense and the ability of its players to go in the open court. Dragisa Drobnjak and Capin, with consecutive baskets, practically finished the suspense at 61-77 with 6 minutes to go, and after that it was a matter of time only before the guests had preserved their undefeated record in style.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002