The Group C game in Podgorica between Buducnost and Zadar wasn't an easy one to play as the only consolation for the winner would be to avoid ending the regular season in the last place of the group. It was Buducnost the one who had this minor reward by beating Zadar 110-97. The crowd also understood it that way, and a mere few hundreds of spectators showed up to watch the show, and the end of the Euroleague adventure for both teams. With the win, Buducnost managed to improve its record to 3-11, while Zadar dropped to 2-12 and ended in the last place of the group. The winners were led by Igor Rakocevic with 26 points, Vladimir Kuzmanovic added 21 and Blagota Sekulic contributed 15, while the losers were kept in the game thanks to the 24 points by Ivan Grgat and the 17 by Marko Popovic.
The game began balanced, as Zadar resisted all the efforts made by Buducnost, who was only leading by 4 way into the first quarter, 17-13. The guests had their best weapon on Grgat, who himself alone had scored 11 of the 22 points of his team when the score was 21-22 and Zadar jumped in the lead. But this advantege for the Croatians wouldn't last as the first period came to en end with the hosts in the lead again, 28-26.
The second quarter was easier than the first for Buducnost as it outscored Zadar by 33-19 in fron of an almost empty arena, which mirrored the lack of passion shown by both teams due to the lack of aims beyond the win after the 40 minutes. The score went from 52-45 to the final 62-45 after a 10-0 run by the hosts, led by Rakocevic who had already bagged 13 points by then. The teams hit the locker rooms with Buducnost 17 points ahead, 62-45.
The third quarter followed the pace of the second, as Buducnost was an unstoppable hurricane, scoring from all positions, and Zadar watched everything without showing signs of reaction. Five minutes into the quarter, the hosts were already leading by 80-58, and the turnover figures said a lot: Buducnost 2, Zadar 9. When the score was 80-60, Buducnost hit a 13-0 run that finally broke the game open with 93-60. The game got to minute 30 with a 95-63 score and a team, Buducnost, that looked to be on its way to beat the scoring record in one Euroleague game.
But that seemed impossible, for when the final period started, the hosts were already out of the game and Zadar improved its offense again thanks to Grgat, even though the gap was too large to be neutralized in 10 minutes. Buducnost kept adding turnovers to its numbers (and ended the game with 13), while the guests climbed little by little until the buzzer announced the end of the game with a 110-97 score. Zadar had hit a 15-34 partial score when it seemed that Buducnost would at least try to amuse the few fans that had gathered at the SC Moraca arena.
Thursday, February 14, 2002
Milivoje Kovacevic, Podgorica