Pallacanestro Cantu received unlikely help as they knocked off short-handed Maroussi Honda Athens 82-70 on Tuesday, staying alive in Group J of the FIBA EuroCup.
Andrea Michelori and Nicolas Mazzarino averaged a combined 19.3 points per game coming into the contest. But Michelori paced the Italians with 22 points and Mazzarino added 21. Rowan Barrett chipped in 15.
|Rowan Barrett |
That was just too much for the Greeks, who were without leading scorer Roderick Blakney and suffered their first defeat of Round II.
Alexandros Kyritsis did all he could to keep Athens in the game, scoring a game-high 24 points.
But the young Greek guard didn't get enough help as Sotirios Nikolaidis was the only other player to score in double figures for Panagiotis Yannakis' team.
The Greeks are now 3-1 in the group, level with RheinEnergie Koln. Cantu evened their record at 2-2.
Kyritsis started out on fire and scored six points as Honda went on a 14-2 tear to open the game. Two Mazzarino three-pointers keyed a 12-4 to answer as the quarter ended with an 18-14 lead for Maroussi.
Michelori scored 11 of Cantu's next 17 points as the Italians pulled ahead 31-29. Back-to-back three-pointers by Niccolo Squarcina late in the second quarter helped Cantu open a 40-37 advantage going into the locker-room.
Kyritsis, who scored 16 in the first half, tried all he could to keep Athens in the game. But Cantu came up with the big plays in the third.
Barrett hit two three-pointers, and Michelori and Barrett added three-point plays to open a 56-45 advantage halfway through the third.
A 9-2 run - spurred by five straight points from Nikolaidis - closed the gap to 60-56 late in the third, which ended with a 62-56 scoreline for Cantu.
Michelori's free throws with five minutes left completed an 11-2 run which gave Cantu a 73-58 advantage. The Greeks worked it down to seven points - 75-68 with 1:20 remaining. But the Italians were just too much on this night.