Their eyes were no longer on the Top 16 prize, but fighting for the fifth place in Group D, Adecco Asvel on Thursday showed a bit of pride in beating Partizan ICN in Belgrade by 82-88. The French team finished this Euroleague season with an 8-6 record while Partizan dropped to 6-8. That 8-6 meant a three-way tie for fourth place with Ural Great and Scavolini Pesaro, but in games between the three, Asvel had the worst record, 1-3, and therefore dropped out of the Top 16, as was apparent on Wednesday night, when Ural won. Nikola Vujicic led the winning team with 17 points, Yann Bonato added 14. Milos Vujanic and Nenad Canak scored 18 points each for Partizan, while Jovo Stanojevic finished with a double-double (12 points and 12 rebounds).
John Celestand was the perfect leader on the playing floor for 38 minutes. He was leading Asvel with brain and speed, in every play he knew what to do with the ball. In the second period Asvel forged a 5-18 run and led by 32-45. In the first half Partizan had many problems with Asvel center Vujicic, but the main reason for the Yugoslavs poor game was Asvel's defense on Partizan best scorer Vlado Scepanovic, who was kept at 13 points.
The second half began with several Asvel fast breaks by Bonato and Celestand, but the critical point for the French team came in minute 30 when Bonato was fouled out. Partizan hit an 11-0 run and at the beggining of the fourth period the hosts were down by 60-73. At that point, Stanojevic made two consecutive offensive fouls, to which he added a travelling and was fouled out. Harold Mrazek hit two threes for the Asvel final 0-9 run and the story was over at 82-88.
Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Aleksandar Ostojic, Belgrade