Zvezda tops Galatasaray to finish third in Group A
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade finished the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season in style by topping Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul 83-100 on the road in Group A on Wednesday. Zvezda finished third in Group A with a 6-4 record and will compete in Top 16 Group G, led by Spanish powerhouses Valencia Basket and Unicaja Malaga. Galatasaray, which was already eliminated before this game, finished its EuroCup season with a 3-7 record. Billy Baron led the winners with 20 points. Joe Ragland added 18, Borisa Simanic had 17 and Stratos Perperoglou 10 for Zvezda. Nigel Hayes paced Galatasaray with 30 points, Tai Webster added 14 and Zach Auguste 12.
A backdoor layup by Goksenin Koksal and a three-pointer by Hayes gave Galatasaray an early 5-2 lead. Simanic hit a triple, but Hayes kept pushing the hosts and a dunk-and-foul by Zach Auguste helped Galatasaray to a 12-9 edge. Ragland stepped up for Zvezda and Baron followed a jumper with a bomb from downtown to tie it at 18-18. Webster sank a three-pointer and Hayes added a layup-plus-foul to give Galatasaray a 26-24 lead after 10 minutes. Nemanja Nenadic and Maik Zirbes fueled a 0-6 run that gave Zvezda its first lead, 26-30, early in the second quarter. Marko Arapovic took over with a three-point play and Simanic, Koksal and Aaron Harrison each struck from beyond the arc. Baron drilled a pair of threes for a 35-39 Zvezda lead. Simanic and Branzo Lazic joined the three-point shootout to force the hosts to stop the game at 38-45. Michael Ojo followed free throws with a put-back layup to keep Zvezda fully in charge, 42-49, at halftime. A layup-plus-foul by Ragland and back-to-back triples by Simanic gave the visitors their first double-digit lead, 45-58, soon after the break. Auguste and Hayes tried to change things for Galatasaray, causing Zvezda to call timeout at 52-60. Baron silenced the crowd with consecutive three-pointers and Marko Keselj added a long jumper for a 57-70 Zvezda margin. Hayes remained unstoppable and single-handedly kept Galatasaray in the game, 65-72. Perperoglou and Keselj set a 68-79 Zvezda margin after 30 minutes. Arapovic took over early in the fourth quarter and drew Galatasaray within 74-83 with seven minutes left. Perperoglou buried a three-pointer, Ojo added free throws and a driving layup by Ragland made it 74-90 with over 4 minutes remaining to all but ice the win.
Baron had a near-perfect shooting performance and was strong all game long. He had 20 points, hitting 5 of 6 three-point shots and added 2 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 6 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 28 - a new season high for him.
A rain of three-pointers late in the first half gave Zvezda the lead for good. Baron and Simanic hit two apiece and Lazic added another one for a 38-45 margin. Zvezda did not trail after that, keeping full control of the game until the final buzzer.
Zvezda pulled down 11 offensive rebounds and had 13 turnovers. Galatasaray had 7 offensive rebounds and 19 turnovers. Those 10 extra possessions allowed a more focused Zvezda to dominate the game.
Did you notice?
Joe Ragland set a new career-high mark in assists with 12. His previous record was 10 against Germani Brescia Leonessa a week ago. It was also the most assists ever by a Zvezda player in the EuroCup: DeMarcus Nelson previously had the record with 11 against Panionios on January 22, 2014.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018