Twenty points from Dylan Page helped Roanne Basket wrap up third place at EuroChallenge Final Four as they claimed an 86-80 success in an entertaining shoot-out against Scavolini Spar Pesaro.
|With Uchenna Nsonwu barely being a factor, back-up center Nicholas Lewis stepped up big with 16 points and 6 rebounds|
Both teams were hot from long range throughout but it was the French side that prevailed - despite trailing by ten points in the first half due to some flawless perimeter shooting by Michael Hicks-Taylor who finished with a game high 27 points (eatch highlight video here).
The American drained five triples from his first five attempts to put the Italians in control and with a 52-43 half-time advantage against a lacklustre Roanne who looked to be suffering a hangover from throwing away their semi-final with Göttingen.
Roanne looked to have received a rollicking from Coach Choulet in the locker rooms at the half and they came out a completely different team at the start of the third quarter.
With a visibly more aggressive approach at both ends of the floor, they began to haul themselves back into the game. While Page (watch his post-game reactions here) was influential it was defensive intensity and steals that proved decisive.
As too did a super cameo from Nicholas Lewis. The center scored 16 points and claimed 6 rebounds to help his team.
With three minutes to go in the third period, Roanne still trailed by ten points but they finally made their move by engineering a stunning 23-6 run either side of the quarter break.
While Scavolini Spar Pesaro tried to rally after their offensive drought, they couldn't find the stops on defence or anybody to offer production alongside Hicks-Taylor.
The Italians now have to focus on returning home to save their top flight status in the domestic league.
Roanne meanwhile may have picked up a morale-boosting success but it won't make-up for their nightmare semi-final collapse against Göttingen which is likely to haunt them for quite some time.
Roanne Basket head coach Jean Denys Choulet:
In the first half our defense was terrible. We had no legs. They scored on a lot on 1 on 1 situations. Especially Michael Hicks killed us in the first half of the game. Afterwards he was calm. We played a better second half. I have to say congratulations to my players. They did it with only 8 players today. Uche did not have a great game. This win is a win by our people off the bench. Honestly, I think with the two players more this tournament is a different story. But it was a good competition here, the organisation was okay yet it would have been better to only have two days and not three days.
Roanne guard Mouloukou Diabate:
I think in the first half we played bad defense. Our defensive rotation did not work. So the halftime helped. We could talk things over and played better defense in the second half and tried to win the game. We learned form the Göttingen game and have been able to get the win here.
Scavolini Spar Pesaro head coach Luca Dalmonte:
We had a good impact on the game. We played good offense. We were looking for the open man and went to the basket aggressively. In the second half Roanne increased the defense. They increased the pressure and quality of their defense. We stopped to attack and slowed down. It is hard to say where the borderline is between their increase of defense and our slowing down on offense. We did not make our shots. Inside we really suffered from Lewis. Roanne had good movement under the basket.
Pesaro forward Michael Hicks:
Congratulations to the other team. They never gave up. We let up in defense a little bit that's why they came back. They wanted it more than us in the end.