Italy SerieA: Montepaschi snaps losing streak

Coming into their Week 24 SerieA contest with Lenovo Cantu, Montepaschi Siena had lost three straight SerieA contests and three straight Euroleague games, including the most recent loss that gave Besiktas JK Istanbul their first Top 16 win on the season. To say that the Montepaschi men had fallen on hard times as of late would be a gross understatement, but with a 73:66 win over Cantu on Monday they’ve got something to build on. The six game skid has only caused them to drop a couple of places in the SerieA standings, but short of a complete meltdown over the last six weeks of the regular season they will make the playoffs. They aren’t on quite as solid ground in the Euroleague as after a 5-0 start and a place at the top of the Group F standings right behind group leader FC Barcelona Regal, they’ve now fallen into a four-way tie with BC Khimki, Maccabi Electra, and Olympiacos.

In other SerieA contests, a number of playoff hopefuls didn’t help their causes during Week 24, with four of the top eight falling and two that are knocking at the door putting up losses as well. No. 2 Banco di Sardegna Sassari was pounded by No. 11 Vanoli Cremona on the road; No. 5 EA7 Emporio Armani Milano was beaten soundly at home by No. 12 Sutor Montegranaro; No. 7 Trenkwalder Reggio Emilia lost a close contest to the top club, Cimberio Varese, 74:77; No. 9 Enel Brindisi fell to No. 13 Sidigas Avellino; No. 10 Juvecaserta was stopped at home by No. 15 Scavolini Banca Marche PU.

Montepaschi Siena – Lenovo Cantu, 73:66
Siena got a game-high 24 points from playmaker Bobby Brown on Monday en route to a 73:66 victory over Lenovo Cantu in the SerieA, despite a 2:20 run in the final 10 that cut a 23-point lead down to five with just a minute to play. The win snapped a six game losing streak that crossed from SerieA to the Euroleague. Both clubs come out of the Week 24 match with identical 15-9 records, four games behind lead leader Cimberio Varese, but also five games ahead of the No. 9 club, Enel Brindisi.

Siena showed up to play this contest like they had something to prove, which they did. Questions about the club and it’s tumble down the standings in both SerieA and the Euroleague have no doubt been a distraction and source of frustration for the squad. Jumping out to a 46:21 lead at halftime had to help eliminate the doubt, even if for a short period of time. Brown took control of the game early, knocking down 11 of Siena’s 18 first quarter points. In the second Brown only saw the floor for three minutes, but in his absence, teammate Benjamin Ortner picked up the slack on the scoreboard and connected on seven of eight shots inside the arc, accounting for all 15 of his points in the second quarter alone. Cantu couldn’t get things clicking in the first half and could only connect on 11 points in the first quarter and 10 points in the second, to head into the intermission down 46:21.

In the third, Cantu was only able to cut their deficit by two, with Marco Cusin collecting seven points and three rebounds. As they prepared to head to the fourth quarter the scoreboard read 64:41.

The final stanza was where Cantu made their move, and with Siena not able to score for the first six minutes, the visitors dropped in 12 unanswered points to pull to within 11, 64:53. Brown hit a jumper to break the dry spell, but as soon as he did, the hosts went quiet again and didn’t tally another point for three minutes and let Cantu to slice the margin again to five, 66:41. During the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter they outscored Montepaschi 2:20. In the final minute, David Moss hit a triple to push the Siena lead back to eight, but Leunen Maarten countered with a three-ball of his own to cut the gap to five. Brown sank a jumper and then Cantu was forced to foul and could only find Brown, who’s shooting 81.9% in the SerieA through the first 24 games and 89% in 22 Euroleague games. Brown hit his charity tosses and Jeff Brooks dropped in the final points of the night to close out the scoring on a remarkable comeback that came up seven points short.

Brown led all scorers with 24 for Siena, Moss added 17 points, Ortner contributed 15 points (all in the second quarter) and 7 rebounds.

Maarten was team-high for Cantu with 17 points. Jeff Brooks and Stefano Mancinelli scored 10 each.

Trenkwalder Reggio Emilia – Cimberio Varese, 74:77
Vanoli Cremona – Banco di Sardegna Sassari, 108:91
EA7 Emporio Armani Milano – Sutor Montegranaro, 71:85
Juve Caserta – Scavolini Banca Marche PU, 66:77
Enel Brindisi – Sidigas Avellino, 72:76
Umana Venezia – Angelico Biella, 97:62
Acea Roma – Oknoplast Bologna, 90:70

Italy SerieA Week 24

Week 24 Italy SerieA Matches[matches league_id=5 match_day=24 template=summary dateformat=”M. j, Y”]

Italy SerieA Standings as of Week 24[standings league_id=5 show_website=false template=nolink]

Next Week’s Italy SerieA Matches[matches league_id=5 match_day=25 template=sumnoscore dateformat=”M. j, Y”]

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