Cholet Basket defeated Cibona 71-84
Cholet Basket recorded its second straight win in Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group C on Thursday by beating Cibona Zagreb 71-84 at the Drazen Petrovic Basketball Center in the Croatian capital. The French champs also won for the first time on the road in improving to 2-2, while Cibona dropped to 0-4. Antywane Robinson scored 20 and Sammy Mejia added 17 for the winners. It was a close game until the final quarter, but Cholet wrapped up the win with a late 3-14 run. Vule Avdalovic added 15 points and Luc-Arthur Vebobe 12 for Cholet, which will look to climb even higher in the standings next week when head coach Erman Kunter’s men challenge undefeated Fenerbahce Ulker. Leon Radosevic paced Cibona with 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic netted 15 for the hosts, who face another tough matchup against Lietuvos Rytas in Week 5. Rok Stipcevic added 12, Tomislav Zubcic scored 11 and Drago Pasalic netted 8 to go with 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
It was a fast paced affair early on, as both teams traded baskets and rarely missed. Cholet enjoyed a couple of 4-point leads in the first quarter and after making it 9-12 on a Robinson layup midway through, kept Cibona on the defensive with sharp player movement off the ball and decisive penetration, specifically by Mejia. Down 11-17, Cibona head coach Zdravko Radulovic was forced to call his first timeout, just as Randal Falker first entered the game for Cholet. The competition’s reigning rebounding leader was taken note of by the home team, who made an effort to neutralize him in the paint, but Fabien Causeur and Mejia started cooking from beyond the arc, hitting a pair of three pointers to give the French champs their first double digit lead, 15-25. The margin would have withstood going into the second quarter if a buzzer-beating heave from midcourt by Causeur had found the bottom of the net, but all it got was rim, settling the score at 20-27 at the end of one.
Cibona tried to speed up the transitions with some zone defense to start the second quarter and quickly got to within three after an alley-oop dunk play by Zubcic and Stipcevic. Kunter called for timeout to get Cholet going again and Avdalovic freed himself up for a triple that made it 29-32 after Bogdanovic answered with one of his own. As the hosts started settling in on offense, they got better looks at the basket and, when they weren’t converting their first chances, they were working to generate new ones, effectively sealing off Falker, though conceding the first half rebounding battle, 16-21. Falker finally got in the stat sheet with his first basket of the game, making it 37-44, and also started making his presence felt on defense as Cholet never let Radulovic’s crew get closer than the one point at the 26-27 mark, finishing 40-46 at the break, with Pasalic unable to convert on a last second hook shot from close.
Robinson and Mejia, who had combined for 22 first half points, were cause for concern for Radulovic to start the second, but it was Bogdanovic who set the tone for the hosts, narrowing the gap to 48-50 on a nice penetration and leading all scorers with 13. With Falker starting the second half for Cholet, the forward went to work often on Radosevic in the paint, scoring a couple of baskets on back to the basket moves and a put back until he had to come off the floor due to an ankle sprain. The visitors kept in front with great ball movement on the offensive end and close looks to the basket, but Cibona did not despair, as it kept executing its half court sets with a purpose and got Pasalic and Radosevic going. With both teams evened out in chess play, the game needed some individual flair to shake things up, and it was the mercurial Mejia who was happy to provide it with a triple that made it 52-59. A nice reverse layup by Zubcic off a sharp Karlo Vragovic assist tried to counter at 54-59, but Cholet finished strong with a big dunk by Robinson in traffic and some aggressive rebounding on the offensive glass, reaching the deciding quarter in control, 58-63.
With Falker healing on the bench, it was Robinson who picked up the slack inside for Kunter’s team, hitting some mid-range shots and working the paint as Stipcevik tried to push the tempo for the hosts, who finally got back within 65-67 on the guard’s fast break layup. Cibona needed to get over the hump in order to net their first win but every time they got a whiff of Cholet, the visitors pulled away. Robinson scored his 18th point of the night and extended his range to three point land to make it a 5-point affair again. Avdalovic made it, 65-72 on a fearless fast break layup. With less than six minutes left in the game, Cibona tried to establish itself in the paint, but Cholet’s defense harassed Stipcevic into some costly turnovers and Vebobe came off the bench to contribute 10 points and manic activity on his own end, emphatically blocking a Zubcic shot into the stands. Radulovic’s crew made spirited efforts on offense but was not able to contain Cholet’s attack, as the visitors cruised to a 3-14 run that left matters at 68-81 with a minute to go. With their second win in a row within distance, Kunter’s men did not let up and were able to smile at the end.
Thursday, November 11, 2010