In round 17 of the regular season in the Italy Serie A, what was once a four-way tie for the top spot has now been culled to three teams. Pallacanestro Cantu, EA7 Emporio Armani and Enel Basket Brindisi all share the leadership position of the standings with identical 12-5 records. Virtus Roma was the former companion of those three teams, but was defeated by Enel Brindisi when both leaders faced off, 62-72. It was arguably the most critical game of the round as it created a one-game gap between two of the top four contending teams. Now at 11-6, Virtus Roma falls to fifth place just behind Montepaschi Siena which carries an identical record.
Enel Brindisi vs. Virtus Roma, 72-62
After an evenly contested first half, Enel Brindisi pulled away in the third quarter as it outscored Virtus Roma 20-14. They held on to their lead in the fourth and even extended it by four more markers and thus sealing the victory. Enel Brindisi was lifted by the effort of Miroslav Todic who came up big for them off the bench as he finished the contest 13 points and nine boards. Fellow reserve Folarin Campbell led all scorers with 16 points. American starters Jerome Dyson and James Delroy added 11 points apiece.
Virtus Roma only converted five of their twenty eight attempts from downtown. They relied too heavily on their outside game and paid the price as they weren’t able to find alternative ways to put up points on the board.
Cimberio Varese vs. EA7 Emporio Armani Milano, 71-76
Armani came away with a key road win over Cimberio Varese and even overcame a 20-point scoring performance by Adrian Banks. They were able to lean on the league’s scoring leader Keith Langford to once again deliver the goods and that he did as he finished the game with 16 points and three assists, notably going 6-6 from two-point range. He was a key contributor during a second-quarter rally that quashed the home team’s six-point first-quarter advantage. Armani outscored Cimberio Varese in the second period 32-20 en route to cementing their control of the ball game. It was downhill from their for the hosts as Armani held strong in the third and did not allow their opponents to get back into the game.
Pallacanestro Cantu vs. Banco di Sardegna Sassari, 99-95
Cantu played a solid game at home and relied on good ball movement in order to pull away after a tied up first half 43-43. Cantu’s Joe Ragland led five other players in double figures with 25 points, six assists, three steals and three treys. Adrian Uter and Pietro Aradori each chipped 15 points, while fellow starters Michael Jenkins, Maarten Leunen and reserve Stefano Gentile all added 11 points each.
While Cantu’s scoring was spread across many of its players, Sassari’s offense was focused on three players. Drew Gordon put in an impressive double-double performance with a game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds. Caleb Green was able to add 22 points of his own and was pristine from two-point range, going 7-7. Drake Diener added 19 points and five assists.
Here are the results of the other games in Round 17:
Montepaschi Siena vs. Grissin Bon Reggio Emila, 65-55
Sutor Motegranaro vs. Umana Reyer Venezia, 73-72
Granarolo Bologna vs. Vanoli Cremona, 85-90
Pasta Reggia JuveCaserta vs. Victoria Libertas Pesaro, 100-88
Sidigas Avellino vs. Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia, 75-70