Climamio Bologna kept on its path to finish first in Group A with an 85-88 road win over Partizan in Belgrade on Thursday that said something about how even non-qualified teams keep fighting for prestige. Climamio is now 9-2 and in first place although tied on victories with Efes Pilsen. Partizan is tied for last place at 2-9. A missed triple by Uros Tripkovic at the buzzer was all that kept the game from going to overtime, that and 25 points for Climamio by a player who used to have the same role with Partizan: Milos Vujanic. He was followed by Martin Rancik with 17 points and Gianluca Basile with 13 for the winners. Tripkovic was Partizan's top scorer with 24 points. Luka Bogdanovic added 17 and Blake Stepp 15.
Climamio opened the game with 0-6 run as Vujanic hit the ground running. The visitors played pressure defense, made several steals and, after 3 fastbreak layups, led 2-13. Partizan's offense finally got going when Tripkovic fired from behind the arc and added a layup for a 9-16 score. Rancik and Luka Bogdanovic traded triples and Kosta Perovic and Basile layups for the final 16-21 score after 10 minutes.
The tempo had been slow, but the beginning of the second quarter was a different story. Tripkovic and Bogdanovic cut Climamio's lead to 21-23. Vujanic and Basile fired a shot each from downtown in response, but Petar Bozic of Partizan answered then with his own bombs. Climamio led 29-33 after 15 minutes, after which the game filled with fastbreaks and great offensive moves. Climamio added a 0-7 run for 29-40 lead after 17 minutes. Stepp and Tripkovic answered by sharing 3 triples in an 11-3 run that got the hosts back to within 40-43 at the break, by which time the two teams had combined to make 10 three-pointers in 27 attempts.
To start the third quarter, Partizan tied 45-45 when Tripkovic made 3 free throws and Stepp soon completed a 7-0 run by giving the hosts their first lead, 47-45. Rancik dunked for a new tie and Climamio extended it to a 0-6 run and a 47-51 lead. Ruben Douglas scored 5 fastbreak points in a row as Climamio's lead hit 51-60 after 27 minutes. Partizan had a lot of problems guarding Douglas and Vujanic as Bozic was fouled out and Tripkovic had 3 personals. Dalibor Bagaric scored inside for a new double-digits lead, 54-64, but then Partizan found a 6-0 run that got the fans to their feet to cheer the teenagers on the court. Nonetheless, the quarter ended with baskets from Vujanic and Douglas as Climamio led 60-68 after 30 minutes.
The margin held early in the last quarter as the teams traded baskets at a slower rhythm. Soon, however, Bogdanovic surprised Climamio with a triple and the score was 72-78 after 35 minutes. Bogdanovic added steal and offensive rebound and Partizan cut the difference to only 4 points, but after a technical foul on Stepp, Basile scored 3 points for a safe 74-81 Climamio advantage. Stepp's three-pointer and 2 more points from Bogdanovic made it any team's game to steal with 82-83 on the scoreboard and 90 seconds left. Rancik and Vujanic were traded points with Tripkovic in the last minute. Douglas added one from the line and Partizan had the last attack with 10 seconds left and the score 85-88. Tripkovic missed triple for the overtime, but domestic fans left Pionir Arena satisfied with a performance of both teams.
Thursday, January 20, 2005