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NIJT L’Hospitalet 2011 (Day 2 live)

January 5th, 2011 · 1 Comment

The second day in the sunny Barcelona started early with the games that decide which teams will reach the semi-finals tomorrow and has the chance to qualify for the Final Tournament in May during the Euroleague Final 4.

Joventut Badalona – Zalgiris Kaunas 69-85

The game was highly important for both teams and they had the ambition to qualify for the Final 8 in May. The first quarter was pretty balanced and no team could take a big lead. Albert Homs had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders for the Catalans and drew already five fouls in the first ten minutes. For the Greens from Lithuania, Tauras Jogela was the do-it-all forward that he can be by being present on defense, scoring and rebounding for his team. The second quarter started with a shooting practice for Justas Tamulis who could hit two wide-open three point shots to make a first break in favor of Zalgiris at 15-24. It was at that moment when the Catalan coach decided to launch his 1996 born Marc Bauza for the first time in the tournament. Tamulis continued his show with another three and a nice assist for the slam of Simonas Kymantas. For Joventut, only Homs tried to do something at this moment and as the referees were a lot more balanced on their calls than on Day 1, Zalgiris increased their lead to 15 points. But Badalona did not give up and on yet another drive of Homs, they forced coach Visockas to take a time-out at 25-34 with 1min50 on the clock. Tomas Dimsa came out hot of the time-out and immediately hit a three to bring the lead back to double digits but Homs answered with the long-distance shot from the corner. Zalgiris tried to stop Homs with a zone defense but the Joventut guard did what he wanted on the drive and scored even against 2 defenders. Bienvenue Letuni cut the lead to 8 on 2 free-throws (he is pretty effective from the charity stripe for such a huge player that probably has not practiced basketball for a long time). Homs stole the ball on the last inbound but could not finish from close and the teams went to halftime at 31-39. The third quarter started balanced again but with Letuni becoming tired, Zalgiris dominated the offensive glass and earned some 2nd chances that helped them to go up to 40-52. Vaidas Kariniauskas took excellent care of Homs and the Lithuanians could run the break to score some easy baskets. Marius Grigonis made another bucket on the drive with the foul and forced Joventut to take a time-out at –12 for the last offense of the third quarter. But the play prepared for Homs ended up with nothing and we went to the last ten minutes at 45-57. Zalgiris started the last quarter on a 10-4 run and the game was nearly done at 49-67 with 4min35 remaining. Homs tried a desperate comeback with 4 very quick points on 2 steals in 5 seconds and Visockas had to take a timeout to bring his team back on track. Joventut had some success with their full-court press but they never reduced the gap significantly as the Spanish attempts were more forced than constructed plays. Zalgiris finished the game on a high note with a spectacular alley-oop by Jogela and reached the semi-finals of tomorrow morning.

Stats: Albert Homs (Joventut Badalona) 29pts (11/27 FGs) 4rebs 3stls 25rkg – Tauras Jogela (Zalgiris Kaunas) 17pts 4rebs 2stls 20rkg

NB: Alejandro Suarez from DKV Joventut is out with a flu. The absence of their player caused a lot of problems to the Catalan team as he is normally the leader together with Albert Homs.

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Catalana Occident Manresa – Cedevita Zagreb 63-53

The Croatian team went as favorites into this game as the talent level of Manresa was somehow limited to the scoring of Marcus Eriksson. And it was the Swede that opened the contest with one of his trademark smooth triples. But from that moment on, it was only Cedevita that showed some good basketball. Dominating inside with Luka Saric and Filip Bundovic while the team defense forced 7 Spanish turnovers in the first 8 minutes, they could however not translate this to the scoring table and the difference did never grow bigger than 7 points. Manresa could even come back and take the lead on a three-point shot by Iikka Maki from the corner at 19-16. In the 2nd quarter, the game went on with no team being able to take a larger lead. Manresa had the better start and went up 24-20 but Cedevita came back and overcame the Spaniards at 24-25 with 3min20 on the clock. The final minutes of the first half were a bit better with Eriksson who hit his third three-pointer of the game and Martin Junakovic attacking the Spanish basket with great will. Manresa came impressive out of the break and immediately rushed away behind a 16-2 run with Johan Bitjaa Kody scoring inside and Eriksson continuing to make his shots. The situation did not improve for the Croats after Junakovic got called a technical for complaining after having hit the floor on a slight tackle of the Manresa defense. But the T seemed to have re-motivated Cedevita and Antun Hrkac cut the lead to 51-43 on the 3rd quarter buzzer. Both teams started the last quarter pretty balanced so that 6min35 before the final buzzer, the score did not move much at 53-45. Bundovic had not his best day in finishing against the short but physical defense of Manresa in the lowpost. Adria Sala hit the highly important three with minutes remaining in the game and bring the score to 58-49. Everything looked at that moment that Manresa would get their first victory. Cedevita could not bring the score back and the Spanish team guarded their chances in order to qualify for the semi-finals.

Stats: Marcus Eriksson (Manresa) 20pts 4rebs 2asts 18rkg – Luka Saric (Cedevita) 18pts 6rebs 15rkg

FC Barcelona – C.B. L’Hospitalet 66-64

In the game of the contrasts, L’Hospitalet had a great start versus FC Barcelona with 2 triples and a couple of free-throws to get an early lead at 2-8. But after a third three-pointer by the hosts, their offensive efforts did not lead to a score anymore and the favorites slowly took over the lead to be up 12-11 on the first break. Despite the entry of Josep Perez, Barcelona did not really run away but the rotation that Head Coach Pie played gave a lot of minutes to his bench. The 1995 born Bernat Camarasa showed some interesting potential for the Catalans and they went away to 33-24 with 2 minutes to play in the 2nd quarter. Nacho Marin came up with some scoring while 1994 born Vincente Santamatilde took care of the defensive rebounding. Jose Luis Valencia hit his third triple of the game and Hospitalet was again back in the game at -5 at halftime. Barcelona increased the lead in the third quarter with Marin and Camarasa attacking the basket but a quick 11-3 to start the last ten minutes brought Hopitalet in an unexpected close situation with 5 minutes on the clock. And with 1min30 left to play, Hospitalet could even reduce the score to 62-58 on a layup by Valencia. Fernando Cerqueira cut the lead to 3 on the free-throw line but Lluis Costa scored the big three to bring Barcelona up by 6. Cerqueira foundthe open team mate for the layup and scored the layup with the foul to make it a 1pt game. Hospitalet did not foul until 4 seconds before the buzzer. One free-throw made by Santamatilde was enough to give Barcelona this short and not very beautiful 2pt victory.

Stats: Vincente Santamatilde (Barcelona) 6pts 8rebs 12rkg – Fernando Cerqueira (Hospitalet) 14pts 4rebs 6stls 4asts 21rkg

Khimki Moscow – Real Madrid 68-70

Khimki and Real faced in a decisive game to determine who will reach the semi-final of the Nike International Junior Tournament 2011 in l’Hospitalet. Both teams started with full speed into this important game but the early and bad choices were over-weighting the good quick plays. Daniel Diez forced some decisions and got called on a charge his second foul of the game after only 3 and a half minutes. With their wing on the bench, Real went away by playing close to the rim with their two African imports Placide Nakidjim and Modou Mbaye while Guillermo Hernan-Gomez made his job on the defensive rebound. Real was up 6-15 on the first time out of the Russian coach. But the Russians could only score 3 points until the end of the first quarter. However Real did not better and we had a result of 9-16 after the first 10 minutes. The Spanish team insisted with its big guys and Khimki needed another timeout on a Nakidjim dunk on the fast break. Real seemed to silently move away without too many sparks until a huge fastbreak dunk by Maksim Chislov over Nakidjim brought one of the few highlights to the crowd. But not only the crowd use this play as a wake-up call, also the Russian players insisted and cut the lead to 30-34 at the halftime with Stanislav Ilnitskiy scoring one of his multiple garbage points. The score remained close in the third quarter but the Russian team had to deal early with foul trouble as Alexander Zakharov got called his fourth with 15 minutes left in the game and Latvian Elvis Saulitis already having 4 from the first half. Denis Levshin was the man of the moment as the athletic Russian forward reduced the gap to only 2 points at 2min30 before the 3rd quarter buzzer. Several bad choices on offense and a stupid foul on a three-point shot helped Real to go ahead again with 6 points 10 minutes before the end of the game. But Khimki did not give up and reduced the gap with Levshin and Saulitis scoring in the paint. The game was on the edge now and the Russian team went on zone in defense to protect their players in foul trobule. Zakharov fouled out though but everything was possible when the last 2 minutes started. Arturo Cruz scored a huge triple but did some very discussable choices on the break but one of his passing attempts landed by mystery in the hands of Diez who put Real up 5 with 37 seconds to go. But Chislov turned the ball over on the inbound pass just after the Russian time-out and Cruz scored 2 from the free-throw line. Roman Afanasyev scored the difficult alley-oop on the inbound play and added a tip-in on the break after Cruz scored only one FT. 63-67 with 14 seconds and Khimki sent Diez to the free-throw-line on the foul right out of the time-out. He made the second one to give his team again a 5 point advantage. Ilnitsky scored the quick layup and Diez had to step to the FT line again at +3. He made both and the buzzer three of Levshin came too late. Real Madrid qualified for the semi-finals.

Stats: Maksim Chislov (Khimki) 11pts 10rebs 14rkg – Placide Nakidjim (Real Madrid) 9pts 8rebs 15rkg

DKV Joventut Badalona – Catalana Occident Manresa 62-80

The game began balanced but it was Manresa that got a first real lead in the game at 8-12. The Badalona offense was not really prepared to play without their top star Albert Homs (practice with ACB team) so that the guys around Marcus Eriksson took the early advantage in the Catalan derby. But the Greens came out strong after a time-out and scored a 5-0 run to get back in front. The teams traded baskets and the score after ten minutes remained close at 20-19. Joventut took a maximum lead of 7 points on a lay-in by Bienvenue Letuni but Eriksson answered with a three-point shot. Several bad choices on offense later, Manresa went up 4 on a three-pointer and the score was 28-32 4 minutes before the break. Eriksson added 5 more points for his team while Joventut struggled to get good opportunities on offense against the Manresa zone. After the first twenty minutes, the scoreboard mentioned 36-43 and it was not sure if Joventut could come back without their leader Homs to earn a semi-final spot. Johan Kody opened the third quarter for Manresa with a nice quick back to the basket play and Sergi Solé increased the lead to 13 points with 15 minutes left in the game. Joventut looked lost on offense and they were not able to use the enormous size of Letuni in the paint. The 1994 born giant sees no ball on offense at all as his team mates preferred to attack the basket on one-on-one situations. Manresa continued to survive with their great fighting spirit on both ends of the court and the major surprise was possible before the last quarter started. In fact, with the current team play, the result could not be considered as a surprise but with the overall potential of a complete roster for Joventut, the qualification of Manresa seemed impossible before the tournament debut. Kody had his best game of the tournament and put the Badalona paint in trouble. He scored the layup with the foul while it seemed like there was a Manresa hand on every Penya pass. The difference between both teams remained in double digits as Guillem Vives seemed a bit alone on the Joventut side to reduce the gap. Everything worked on perfection for Manresa at that moment when Ferran Huerta scored the incredible three to bring the score to 54-72. Kody added another offensive rebound with the layup and the foul and Joventut took the time-out of the last chance 3min57 before the end at -20. However it did not help and the frustration turned over into a unsportsmanlike foul that was used by the players from Manresa to increase the lead. The game was over and Manresa advanced to the semi-finals where they will face Barcelona tomorrow morning.

Stats: Johan Kody (Manresa) 16pts (6/6 FGs 4/4 FTs) 5rebs 21rkg – Guillem Vives (Badalona) 14pts 5rebs 4stls 13rkg

Zalgiris Kaunas – Cedevita Zagreb 81 – 67

The game had no more importance in the standings so that the Lithuanians decided to play their bench from the beginning. Vaidas Kariniauskas used that pretty well in the first half as he lead his in scoring while the usual top performance Tauras Jogela did not play at all. For the Croats, Martin Junakovic lead the scorers at half where Zalgiris was however up 42-38. The second half saw Zalgiris go away and bring home an uncontested win.

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 juan cobos // Jan 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    There’s a story on ACB.COM about a trip one of its journalists made to central africa with U1rst agents, Manresa front officers and Serge Ibaka.

    As a result of that trip, Johan Kody was offered to live and study in Spain while playing for Manresa youth teams, what eventually led to his coming to Spain.

    Here’s the link. It’s in spanish though.

    Long story with several parts written by Roc Massaguer.

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