Dentmon, Pocius carry Zalgiris to first Top 16 win
There are no more winless teams in the Top 16 after Zalgiris Kaunas dominated Partizan NIS Belgrade, cruising to 89-77 win on Thursday night in Zalgiris Arena. Both teams now hold 1-5 records and share seventh place in Group F. Zalgiris took control early with triples from Martynas Pocius and Tomas Dimsa, finishing the first quarter with 29-16 lead before Justin Dentmon led the charge in the second period to build 58-41 halftime advantage. The Lithuanian champs never looked back after the break, building a 23-point margin and cruising to victory paced by 23 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds from Dentmon. Pocius bagged 18 and dished a career-high 7 assists, while Robertas Javtokas scored 14 points. Paulius Jankunas contributed with 12 points, 5 rebounds plus 4 assists, and Dimsa also netted 12, a career-high, in victory. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 24 points, 5 assists and 4 steals to lead Partizan. Joffrey Lauvergne collected 14 points plus 7 rebounds, and Nikola Milutinov chipped in with 10 in defeat.
First quarter: Pocius and Dimsa shoot Zalgiris to a double-digit lead
Bogdanovic drove for a layup, and Pocius hit a three-pointer to start things up. Bogdanovic scored another layup, but back-to-back jumpers from Jankunas made it 7-4. Mihajilo Andric sank Partizan's first triple, and Milutinov got a favorable roll on a mid-range jumper for the visitors. Pocius and Milenko Tepic traded long jump shots to make it 11-11 with little over three minutes gone. Javtokas continued Zalgiris's good rhythm with a hook shot, before Dentmon and Pocius drove for layups and a 17-11 edge. Bogdanovic scored from close range, before trading triples with Dimsa. After Javtokas added a reverse layup to his tally, another triple from Dimsa followed by a layup from Dentmon extended the difference to 27-16. Zalgiris kept the visitors without a single point for almost four minutes to end the first quarter, and Dimsa beat the buzzer with a reverse layup for a 29-16 advantage after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Zalgiris takes 17-point margin into halftime
Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bezbradica scored from close range to open the second quarter. Partizan switched to its trademark 1-3-1 defense, leading to a fastbreak dunk from Bezbradica, before Bogdanovic stole the ball for an uncontested dunk that closed the gap to 29-24. Lauvergne cut it even more with a pair of free throws, but Javtokas snapped a 0-10 run and Dentmon sank a three-pointer to make it 34-26. Pocius and Dejan Musli traded layups, but Vytenis Lipkevicius buried a triple. Jankunas and Dentmon from the foul line extended it back into double digits, and after Lauvergne scored a reverse layup, Pocius buried a triple for a 48-34 cushion. Partizan went to the foul line on four consecutive trips down the floor, but Bogdanovic, Lauvergne and Gagic each split free throws, while a mid range-jumper from Jankunas and a triple from Dentmon helped extend the lead to 17 points. Before the end of the quarter, Musli scored a basket-plus-foul , but Pocius beat the buzzer with a triple for a 58-41 halftime lead.
Third quarter: The hosts cruise in building a 23-point lead
Pocius and Javtokas scored layups to open the quarter and extend the margin over the 20-point barrier. Musli hit a pair of turnaround jumpers for Partizan, before Lauvergne dunked on a fastbreak to get his team within 62-47. After a timeout by the hosts, Dentmon nailed a triple, but Bogdanovic hit a jumper-plus-free throw. However, a dunk from Jankunas followed by an alley-oop slam from Dimsa extended it to 69-50. Javtokas added a tip-in, and Tadas Klimavicius hit a jumper for a 74-52 advantage, before Andric answered with a jumper of his own. Dentmon sank a triple to extend the margin to 23 points, but Gagic scored a layup-plus-foul, and Dallo hit a runner on a fastbreak to end the quarter at 77-59.
Fourth quarter: Partizan shows fight, but Zalgiris closes out
Milutinov scored twice inside at the start of the fourth quarter, including a dunk to make it 77-64, but Dentmon buried his fifth three-pointer. Milutinov scored from close range again, and Lauvergne hit a long jumper, cutting it to 80-68. After a timeout, Javtokas scored a layup plus foul, and after Bogdanovic answered from close range, Dentmon from the charity stripe extend it to 86-70. Andric hit a jumper, Bogdanovic nailed a triple and Milutinov dunked on a fastbreak for an 87-77 score entering the final minute, but it was too little, too late for the visitors’ comeback.
Thursday, February 13, 2014