In an early season stunner, Energia Rovinari gave Elba Timisoara their first loss of the Romanian Division A season, outlasting last year’s league runner-up in a 90-89 overtime win at home. Rovinari finished the 2011-12 campaign in the middle of the league at 16-12, while Timisoara was second in the regular season at 21-7. In the playoffs, Timisoara fell to CSU Asesoft Ploiesti, 4-0.
The first quarter went back and forth with mini scoring runs on both ends of the court. Timisoara jumped out to a 4:9 lead, but Rovinari countered with five unanswered of their own to pull ahead 10:9. Delvon Johnson got a jumper, a free throw and a dunk over the next two minutes to push the visitors back up, 13:17, but the squads closed out the quarter with Timisoara up by one, 18:19.
The hosts put some pressure on in the early part of the second frame with a Flavius Lapustea dunk just four seconds after play began. Stefan Nikolic took the ball to the hoop down the paint and tallied the bucket and shortly after dropped in the free toss after getting fouled on the drive, putting his squad up 25:19. Louis Darby got fouled and sank to charity tosses and then came back down on the next possession and rattled the backboard with a dunk, getting fouled in the process and dropping in the free throw to complete the three-point play to extend the Rovinari margin to 30:21. Rovinari kept the advantage to around 10 points for most of the quarter, until their visitors got three-point play of their own on a Dominique Archie jumper with the added bonus of a free throw after getting fouled on the shot. The squads took their break with Rovinari up 41:35.
Timisoara knotted the score at 43 when Marko Derasimovic drained a three-ball two minutes into the third period and the contest saw multiple lead changes and tied scored throughout the entire quarter. When the buzzer sounded to send them into the last 10 minutes, the home squad was still up by two, 54:52.
Louis Darby took control of the Rovinari scoring early in the stanza, dropping in a deuce just eight seconds into the final 10, and hitting three free throws over the next couple of minutes of play. Archie canned a jumper and a three-pointer on consecutive trips down the floor for Timisoara give them a one-point lead mid-way through, 60:61. Much of the fourth quarter was spent on the charity stripe, with marginal success from both squads, but Robert Sarovic and Ziatko Jovanovic both knocked down a pair and then Bogdan Popescu canned a jumper to complete and 0:8 run by the visitors that gave them a 63:69 advantage with 2:56 left on the game clock. The hosts stormed back to a one point lead with a seven point run of their own, before Sarovic dropped in a pair of singles with 1:34 to play, giving Timisoara at one-point lead, 70:71. Rovinari got nothing by free throws over then next minute, dropping in five of eight, their scoring run only broken up by a Jovanovic lay-up, giving the home team a 75:73 lead with 28 ticks on the clock. Vujacic missed a pair of free tosses three seconds later for Rovinari and Jovanovic canned a deuce with eight seconds to play to knot the score at 75, sending the contest into an extra five.
Once again, Darby took control for his club and contributed 11 of the their final 15 points. Jovanovic continued to put his squad on his shoulders with a three-ball to put the visitors up by three with 3:50 to play, but Darby countered with a triple of his own on their trip down the floor to tie the score at Darby grabbed the reins with just over a minute to play when he stole an errant Sarovic pass and was the recipient of an unsportsmanlike foul by Jovanovic. He dropped the free tosses to put his club up by two, 86:84. Jelenic canned a three-pointer to grab the lead back for the visitors, but Darby headed back to the line to sink two more singles when he was fouled on a drive to the hoop. Jovanovic dropped in a deuce with 24 seconds to play to give Timisoara the lead back 88:89, but Darby gave the Rovinari fans a much deserved reason to celebrate with a driving lay-up that feel through the hoop with three seconds to play, giving the home squad a 90:89 win and keep their undefeated season (3-0) alive. The loss drops Timisoara to 2-1 on the season.
A key stat in this game was free throws, Rovinari shot 30 of 44 (68%), while Timisoara cost themselves the game by only shooting 17 of 30 (57%).
Darby finished the contest with 37 points for Rovinari, sinking 19 for 23 (83%) from the line. He also snagged 12 rebounds during the contest. Stefan Nikolic contributed with 14 points, Stefan Atanackovic added 11 and Flavius Lapustea dropped in 10.
Jovanovic paced the visitors with 22 points; Jelenic, Archie, and Sarovic each added 12; Popescu and Johnson contributed 10 to the loss.