Cheered by over a thousand fans, Enegan (1-0) won the season opening at Mandela Forum.
As expected, Matera (0-1) demonstrated to be a valiant opponent, playing to their strengths right at the beginning. Rezzano and Iannuzzi, 6ft 9in and 6-10 respectively, dominated the game, scoring 10 of their 17 combined points in the first 6 minutes of the game.
Enegan’s first quarter was all about Brandon Wood. The combo guard scored 15 of his 27 in the first quarter, attacking the basket on almost every single possession. His energy (5 offensive boards, 9 total) kept Affrico alive, as Matera had already built a double digit lead (22-32).
Playing without Conti (a last minute defection), with Pazzi unable to play more than 5 consecutive minutes, Enegan was physically overwhelmed, but coach Giordani adjusted and made that their strength. Castelli often played center, along Swanston or Fontani at power forward. In the backcourt, with Wood limited by foul trouble, point guards Cucco and Simoncelli shared ball handling duty. Severini gave respite to both guards and forwards.
This lineup, combined with an uptempo style, forced Matera’s big men out of their comfort zone and, at times, straight out of the game.
Simoncelli shot the lights out in the second quarter, going 5/5 from three point range, and, along Cucco (10 in 16 minutes) and Castelli (26 a the end, 3/3 from three), put Enegan in front 54-48 at halftime.
The third and forth quarters saw Matera trying to climb back, but Firenze’s team effort allowed the fans to rise and give a standing ovation during the last seconds of the game.
It was a very positive start, considering Swanston’s difficult debut (0/9, 0 points, fouled out), probably the most hurt by the lack of preseason practices due to injuries. With him back to form, Conti and Pazzi 100% fit, this team will play for a W every single game.
Enegan Firenze: Simoncelli 15 (0/2, 5/6), Wood 27 (8/16, 0/1), Swanston (0/5, 0/4), Castelli 26 (6/11, 3/3), Pazzi 4 (2/5); Cucco 10 (2/2, 2/4), Fontani 6 (1/1, 0/2), Severini 3 (1/3 from 3), Schiano DNP, Baggio DNP. All.: Giordani.
BAWER Matera: Cantone 3 (1/3 from 3), Jones 29 (7/12, 3/5), Austin 15 (5/6, 1/3), Rezzano 9 (1/4, 1/3), Iannuzzi 8 (4/6); Vico 13 (2/6, 2/3), Maganza 4 (2/2), Toscano 5 (1/2 da 3), Bolletta DNP, Stano DNP. All.: Benedetto.
OFFICIALS: Canestrelli, Scudiero and Galasso.
SCORING: 22-30, 54-48, 71-68.
NOTES – Field Goal %: Firenze 20/42, 11/23 from 3; Matera 21/36, 9/19 from 3. Free Throws: Firenze 18/22, Matera 17/24. Rebounds: Firenze 32 (Wood 9), Matera 26 (four with 4). Assist: Firenze 13 (Simoncelli and Wood 3), Matera 14 (Vico 4). Fouled out: Swanston e Castelli. Spectators: +1000.