Partizan shocked Panathinaikos 59-64
Partizan finished the game on a 2-13 tear to stun Panathinaikos at OAKA 59-64 on Wednesday night. The Serbian champs limited the Euroleague champs to just 17 second-half points to start Group E with a big upset. Despite being without star center Aleks Maric, Partizan found other heroes, like Lawrence Roberts, who recorded his first Euroleague double double in helping Partizan outrebound the Greens 31-41, and Petar Bozic and Jan Vesely, who both scored season highs. After taking the lead midway through the first quarter, Panathinaikos remained ahead Dusan Kecman, a Euroleague champ last season with the Greens, drilled a three-pointer to put his team on top 57-59. The game came down to the final minute, when Bozic came up with a clutch offensive rebound and made a three-pointer to put his team ahead by 3 and Vassilis Spanoulis, an 89.2% free throw shooter this season entering the game, missed twice with 12.9 seconds to play. Vesely iced the game from the ine at the other end as Partizan celebrated a major victory. Vesely finished with 13 points and Bozic 12. Roberts amassed 12 points and 10 rebounds and Aleksandar Rasic netted 10. Slavko Vranes was big in the middle with 8 rebounds and 4 blocks, giving him 13 rejections in his last three games. Spanoulis finished with 14 points and 5 assists and Dimitris Diamantidis added 11 in defeat. Partizan hosts Regal FC Barcelona next week, while Panathinaikos faces Maroussi.
Bo McCalebb’s basket in transition and a Roberts triple helped Partizan to an early lead, but Diamantidis triple and free throw kept the hosts close. Panathinaikos went ahead after Diamantidis stripped McCalebb and Nikola Pekovic got on the scoreboard. Partizan had trouble getting the ball to newly signed big man Stevan Milosevic on offense, but he was successful at denying Pekovic in the half court on defense. Roberts knotted the game at 7-7 before Spanoulis came back with a triple. Bozic and Diamantidis traded threes as the lead changed hands. Another Bozic jumper tied the score. Sarunas Jasikevicus took charge as the Greens’ playmaker and set up Antonis Fotsis for a jumper. Spanoulis then dished to Fotsis for a two-handed slam. Rasic darted through the Panathinaikos defense to draw a foul and sink 2 free throws and McCalebb beat the buzzer to keep the visitors within 22-20 after 10 minutes.
Marcus Haislip made his Panathinaikos debut by grabbing a rebound and drawing a foul. Despite two giants clogging the paint – Slanko Vranes for Partizan and Giorgi Shermadini for Panathinaikos – both teams continued to attack the basket. Diamantidis went over Vranes to put the Greens up 5. Drew Nicholas soon hit from the top of the arc to make it 29-23. Shermadini did what few players could – he knocked the ball away from Vranes when the 2.29-meter center was holding it over his head. On the next play, Haislip scored an acrobatic layup for his first Panathinaikos points. Shermadini made a free throw at one end and blocked a shot at the other, but soon took a seat on the bench after an offensive foul. Partizan narrowed the gap thanks to a Roberts tip-in and a Vesely basket-plus-foul. Spanoulis and Bozic traded threes as the scoreboard showed 37-33. Free throws by Spanoulis and Jasikevicius helped Panathinaikos stretch its lead before a Rasic triple made it 42-36 by halftime.
Roberts fired in a three early in the second half to narrow the gap to 2 points. Pekovic went through his old teammate Vranes for a basket, Saras hit a jumper and Spanoulis drew an unsportsmanlike foul from Vesely as the Greens started to pull away. Nicholas buried a jumper that made it 49-40. Roberts answered with a reverse layup, the Serbian champs tightened up their defense – including another block by Vranes on Pekovic – and soon McCalebb’s layup brought head coach Dusko Vujosevic’s men within 4. Spanoulis ended the Greens’ drought with a layup that gave the hosts a 52-46 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
Partizan opened in style with a Bozic triple and a Vranes slam to get within 1 point, but Haislip answered with 5 points of his own. Rasic countered from downtown to make it 57-54. Kecman made it a 1-point game again with a left-handed layup over former teammate Pekovic. A minute later, Kecman struck again, this time from downtown to make it 57-59. Nicholas missed a jumper, but Robert missed underneath as well. Both teams continued to miss as the tension grew. Vranes blocked Spanoulis from behind as OAKA became silent. McCalebb committed an offensive foul. Jasikevicius missed from downtown, but Vranes and Roberts both missed from close range. Rasic made his way to the line and sank 2 for a 4-point Partizan lead with 1:01 remaining. Spanoulis made 2 free throws at the other end with 55 seconds. Partizan slowed the game down and drained the 24-second clock before Roberts missed from downtown. However Bozic grabbed the offensive rebound with 28 seconds left. Panathinaikos was forced to foul, sending Bozic to the line with 18.6 seconds remaining. Bozic, who had not been to the line yet all season, was long on the first, but sank the second. Partizan decided to foul Spanoulis at the other end and he missed twice with 12.9 seconds to play. Spanoulis surprisingly missed both and Vesely went to the line for Partizan with 11.8 seconds left. He made both to put Partizan ahead by 5. Nicholas’s three-point shot at the other end rimmed out and Partizan celebrated a remarkable road win.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010