Pamesa Valencia stormed back from 16-point, first-half deficit to down Crvena Zvezda 73-85 in front of a rowdy crowd at a sold-out Pionir Arena in Belgrade. Crvena Zvezda led by 10 late in the third period before Vule Avdalovic drilled back-to-back threes to end the period and teamed with Albert Miralles to complete a 0-15 Pamesa charge that gave the visitors the lead for good. And when the rest of the Pamesa players joined it, head coach Neven Spahija’s men ran away with a crucial road win to start Last 16 Group K. Avdalovic finished with 17 points to lead Pamesa, Matt Nielsen added 16, Kosta Perovic 12 and Albert Oliver 11, while Shammond Williams dazzled with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Andre Owens, whose red-hot start saw Crvena Zvezda jump out to a 10-0 lead in the opening minutes, finished with 25 points and Vladimir Stimac recorded 14 points and 8 rebounds in defeat.
Red Star played aggressive basketball from the start and forced a fast pace. With pressure on the Pamesa guards the hosts managed to keep the visitors scoreless for more than four minutes as Owens drilled 2 threes and totaled 8 points in a 10-0 start to the game. When Ruben Douglas came in for Rafa Martinez, Valencia finally recorded its first. Douglas managed to stop Owens as Pamesa started closing the gap. The game’s rhythm slowed as Pamesa got to 14-10, however a Marko Keselj bomb helped Crvena Zvezda take a 21-16 lead after 10 minutes and Stimac made it 25-16 early in the second. Williams scored Pamesa’s first triple, but Tadija Dragicevic answered at the other end. Lawrence Roberts scored on the fast break to restore the hosts’ double-digit lead. Stimac added 6 more by beating Perovic and Miralles for offensive rebounds. Pamesa switched to zone, but after Avdalovic committed his third personal foul, the lead rose to 44-28. Baskets by Perovic, Nielsen and Oliver narrowed the gap to 44-34 at halftime.
Roberts and Perovic opened the second half with 4 points each for their respective teams. Martinez added a bomb as Pamesa struggled to cut the gap to single-digits. Perovic joined in with a slam. Playing with two playmakers Pamesa made 2-8 run before Owens hit from downtown. Avdalovic did the same, Dragicevic missed and Avdalovic repeated at the buzzer to make it 62-58 at the end of the third period. Miralles continued Pamesa’s charge with a layup. The hosts had lost their energy as Pamesa led for the first time, 62-64, thanks to another basket from Miralles. Avdalovic hit once more from behind the arc in to cap a 0-15 run that forced Crvena Zvezda head coach Pesic to take a timeout. Finaly Stimac stopped the guests storm, but Dragicevic missed his chance to tie. With a triple, Oliver gave Pamesa a 64-70 lead. Williams added a bomb and Perovic scored 2 points from the line as Pamesa went up 66-75. The margin rose to 10 points, but Roberts and Keselj combined for 5-0 to give hope to hosts with two minutes left. The hope lasted for a short time. Oliver buried it scoring from the line to help seal Pamesa's road victory.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009