Krka Novo Mesto won its first game in the Last 16 and kept its chances to reach the quarterfinals alive with a 78-73 home win over Banvit BK. Krka improved to 1-4 and will have to win big next while hoping for Banvit to lose to Spartak to have a chance at advancing. The game was close for 40 minutes and tied at 70-70 with 1:27 to play. But after Banvit failed to capitalize on an unsportsmanlike foul, Krka went ahead and made free throws down the stretch to seal the win. Jure Balazic shined for Krka with 23 points, while Afik Nissim added 12 points and 4 assists and Jure Lalic and Zoran Dragic scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Cliff Hammonds and Lance Williams scored 14 apiece and Chuck Davis added 12 for Banvit, which dropped to 2-3.
Mustafa Abdul Hamid for the hosts and Erkan Veyseloglu for the visitors opened the scoring accounts in the early going. The duo of Nissim and Balazic helped Krka to early leads of 6-2 and 10-6, but strong play by Kalin Lucas and Keith Simmons kept Banvit close. However Banvit had no answer for Balazic, whose triple gave him 12 points and gave Krka a 16-11 lead. Hammonds and Serkan Erdogan brought the visitors right back. Hammonds tied the game at 19-19 and after Edo Muric gave Krka another slim lead, Davis made it 21-21 after 10 minutes. The game remained tight into the second quarter until back-to-back threes by Kenan Bajramovic and Izzet Turkyilmaz lifted the visitors to 26-31 midway through the quarter. Lalic kept Krka in the picture, though a red-hot Hammonds ensured the lead remained with Banvit. However Balazic finished the half strong with a triple to tie the game and then the go-ahead bucket to make it 42-40 at the break.
Lance Williams tied the score twice before slamming Banvit ahead 44-46 as the exciting, back-and-forth flair to the game stayed intact. Davis went to work inside to make it 46-50 and soon 5 straight points from Lucas gave the visitors their biggest lead, 49-57, with two-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter. Smiljan Pavic and Matej Rojc scored their first two baskets of the game in the final minute of the quarter to bring Krka within 53-57. Dragic added a basket to start the fourth quarter to bring the hosts within a basket. Bajramovic hit back from downtown, but Pavic and Rojc each scored again. Then Rojc put the hosts up 63-62. The drama increased as neither team scored over the next two minutes. Lalic ended the drought by lifting the hosts to a 3-point lead and then Nissim buried free throws to cap a 10-0 run. Williams ended a 4+-minute Banvit drought and Hammonds and Erdogan each closed the gap to 2. Williams then tied the score at 70-70 with 1:27 to play. After Balazic restored Krka’s smil lead, Dragic committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Erkan Veyseloglu, which threatened to put Banvit in charge. However he split the free throws, Bajramovc and Erdogan missed on the resulting possession and forced to foul, Banvit sent Balazic to the line, where he made both, 74-71. Williams scored a quick bucket for Banvit, but Nissim was perfect from the line and Veyseloglu missed a three to tie as Krka won to remain alive.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012