Omar Cook drained a pair of free throws with 4 seconds remaining to lift Red Star Belgrade to a big 81-83 road win at Panellinios GS on Tuesday in Group F. Cook finished with 23 points, 9 assists and 5 steals as Red Star improved to 5-2 and remains tied for the top spot in the group through seven games. Red Star hosts Dynamo Moscow next week in a big top-of-the-table clash. Meanwhile Panellinios dropped to 1-6 and hosts CEZ Basket Nymbruk next week knowing that another loss could seal the team’s fate this season. Panellinios came out firing and led 21-6 in little time. But Cook and Tadija Dragicevic carried red Star back to 30-20 by the end of the first period and the visitors took the lead midway through the second period. It remained close from that point, with Panellinios up 45-41 at halftime and 61-60 after 30 minutes of play. Dragicevic, Steven Markovic and Cook scored in a 2-9 run to give Red Star a 70-80 advantage late in the game. Lewis Sims kept Panellinios’s chances alive and Milan Dozet tied it with 19 seconds to go, but Cook drew a foul and won the game in the closing seconds from the line. Dragicevic added 19 points fro the winners, while Sims paced Panellinios with 20 points and 9 rebounds, Anthony Grundy scored 13 and Dozet 12.
Panellinios burst in front 13-4 behind the tandem of Dozet and Mamadou N’ Diaye, which forced a Red Star timeout with 6:46 left to play in the first period. The guests were rather lethargic on defense, so with scoring being an easy task for Panellinios, it wasn’t long before the hosts cruised to a 21-6 lead. Cook knocked down a triple to end a three-minute draught and soon Dragicevic and Markovic joined the three-point show as Red Star pulled within 30-20 at the end of the quarter. Red Star came out firing in the second period and used a 3-14 burst to claw its way back and grab the advantage after only 2:31 minutes of play. Still, a Panellinios timeout plus the fact that Cook headed to the bench allowed the hosts to regroup and control the rhythm of the game. Then Sims stepped up in the paint, helping his team to regain a 45-41 lead at halftime. With Cook orchestrating the offense, Red Star upped the ante with consecutive bombs from beyond the arc for a 51-52 lead. Once again, Panellinios picked up its defensive intensity and restored a 59-54 advantage. Red Star was kept almost five minutes without a basket, but finally Cook unleashed a triple to pull the guests within 61-60 after 30 minutes of play. Red Star kept gambling from downtown – this time with mixed results – yet Panellinios failed to capitalize on its opponents’ shooting slump. At the other end, Miroslav Raicevic stripped Sims and finished the break to give the guests a 68-71 lead. Then, Dragicevic, Markovic and Cook reloaded their pistols and fired in a 2-9 run to forge a 70-80 advantage. Sims picked up the scoring slack to keep Panellinios’s chances alive and, with the score at 78-81, Dozet nailed a game-tying triple with 19 seconds to go. Cook was fouled with 4 seconds left and he hit both free throws to give the away victory to Red Star, as Sims missed a point-blank shot at the buzzer.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007