Crvena Zvezda cruises to victory in Vitoria
Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade claimed its first road win of the season by blowing past Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 66-86 on Thursday at Fernando Buesa Arena. The visitors dominated the middle two quarters 28-45 to set up an easy finish. Luka Mitrovic scored 13 of his team-high 17 points in that stretch as the visitors pulled away. The lead grew to 25 in the fourth quarter before Zvezda let up. Coach Dejan Radonjic’s squad improved to 3-2 with the win, moving into sole possession of second place in Group D. Laboral slipped to 2-3. Maik Zirbes scored 15 points and grabbed 7 rebounds off the bench for the winners, Marcus Williams racked up 14 points and 6 assists and Boban Marjanovic scored 12. Zvezda outrebounded Laboral 26-45. Toko Shengelia scored 20 points to lead the home team and Kim Tillie added 9 in defeat.
First quarter: Heurtel sparks hosts off the bench
After turnovers on each end, Doron Perkins’s steal led to a Toko Shengelia layup for the first basket. Branko Lazic got the visitors on the scoreboard before Marcus Williams placed a perfect bounce pass to Luka Mitrovic for a layup. Sasha Vujacic buried a three for Laboral, but Mitrovic’s block of Shengelia ignited a fast break that Jaka Blazic finished. Mitrovic free throws put Zvezda ahead 4-8. Lazic netted a three, but a mid-range jumper by Colton Iverson brought Laboral within 3. Thomas Heurtel came in and soon made his impact felt with a sweet pass to Davis Bertans for a wicked slam and then to Shengelia for a basket-plus-foul to get within 13-15. Boban Marjanovic dunked in his own miss, however Fernando San Emeterio brought Laboral within 1 with a three. Laboral took the lead on Heurtel’s behind-the-back assist to Shengelia for a layup that made it 18-17. The lead changes hands on consecutive layups from Lamont Hamilton, Nemanja Dangubic and Heurtel to make it 22-21 through 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Mitrovic, Zirbes half Zvezda control the paint
Dangubic’s steal led to Stefan Jovic’s fast break layup. Nikola Kalinic and Maik Zirbes added free throws as the visitors went up 22-25. Jovic stole the ball and put his team up 5. Shengelia hit a long jumper as the game started to get more physical. Williams free throws made it 24-29 midway through the quarter. There were double technical fouls on Iverson and Kalinic. Zvezda continued to control the paint with Zirbes blocking a shot at one end and Mitrovic drawing a foul at the other. Hamilton and Shengelia kept Laboral close, but Zirbes inside and Blazic with a three-point play on the break made it 28-37. Perkins thrilled the fans with a three. Mitrovic and Heurtel flashed pretty assists to Zirbes and Hamilton, respectively. Mitrovic scored before Hamilton split free throws to end the half at 34-41.
Third quarter: Mitrovic helps visitors pull away
Shengelia worked his way inside for a layup, but a Williams three kept Zvezda in control. Shengelia rejected Blazic from behind to ignite a break that Huertel finished with a layup. Mitrovic sank a three and Marjanovic gave Zvezda a double-digit lead. After a timeout, another Mitrovic three made it 38-52. Iverson scored inside, but Mitrovic put in his own miss. Williams committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Perkins from behind, but the Laboral point guard wasted the opportunity by missing both free throws. Blazic, with a layup-plus-foul, extended the Zvezda lead to 40-57. Heurtel hit a jumper, but soon Iverson was ejected with a second technical foul. Marjanovic boosted the lead to 18. Vujacic inspired his team diving for a loose ball and soon San Emeterio came up with 4 points. In between Jovic was carried off after falling on defense. Shengelia brought Laboral within 48-60 with free throws. Kalinic answered on the offensive glass. Shengelia and Marjanovic traded free throws before Williams darted through the Laboral defense for a layup and a 50-66 lead.
Fourth quarter: Williams takes difference to 25 as Zvezda cruises
Williams drove for another east layup. Fabien Causuer scored his first basket for Laboral, but Zirbes added a layup for the visitors. Free throws by Williams gave Zvezda a 20-point advantage. Williams soon drained a three to make it 52-77. Kim Tillie exploded for a baseline slam, but Kalinic sank a three at the other end. Zirbes threw down another big slam as the outcome was no longer in doubt. Tillie and Zirbes exchanged buckets. Bertans converted the ultimate Fantasy Challenge play – offensive rebound, basket, foul and made free throw. Tillie ended the scoring with a steal and layup.
Thursday, November 13, 2014