Red Star Belgrade fought through overtime and 45 minutes to reach the elimination rounds from Group F with a 76-77 overtime road victory at Beghelli Bologna on Tuesday. Tadija Dragicevic made a single free throw with 9 seconds left as Red Star finished overtime with a 0-6 run. Red Star raised its record to 6-2 and holds second place going into the final week of the regular season. Bologna fell to 3-5 with one game pending replay in addition to the final regular season game, so could still shoot for a chance at the elimination rounds. Neither team gave up in this defensive battle as the lead see-sawed all game until Miroslav Raicevic dunked with 3 seconds left to send the game to OT, where 3 minutes, 30 seconds without scoring didn't keep Red Star from rallying for the victory. Omar Cook played all 45 minutes and neared a triple-double with 20 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds for Red Star. Dragicevic added 15 points for the winners, Elmedin Kikanovic 13 and Miroslav Raicevic 12. For Bologna, Oscar Torres put up 19 points, Iker Iturbe 15, Davide Lamma 12 and 8 assists, while Kristaps Janicenoks scored 11 more.
Bologna started in the best way possibile as Iker Iturbe got 5 points and Torres 4 in a 12-2 opening run over 3 minutes. Dragicevic replied by scoring Red Star's first 6 points while Omar Cook made it 12-8 going to the rim. Davide Lamma hit a pair of jumpers to lift the hosts higher, 17-11, but the visitors made consecutive defensive stops, allowing Kovac to cut the difference to 18-15 after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Markovic capped a 0-7 Red Star run to open the second quarter and gave the guests their first lead, 20-22. Iturbe hit his second triple to take back the scoreboard at 27-24, but Cook controlled the tempo so that Red Star replied to any Bologna basket, so even though Dalibor Bagaric and Iturbe built a four-point lead at 39-35 for the hosts, a dunk by Igor Raicevic and a fastbreak by Cook tied it up 39-39 at intermission. After the break, Cook and Kikanovic exploited Bologna's scoring drought as they combined for all Red Star's points in the 4-10 run that sent the guests up 43-49 midway through the quarter. An additional 6 straight free throws following an unsportsmanlike foul by Torres built Red Star's highest lead, 48-55, but Lamma and Torres soon ignited a 13-2 run, capped by 5 points from Alessandro Cittadini, to push Bologna ahead 60-57 after 30 minutes. Dragicevic tied the game with a triple to open the last quarter, but Iturbe and Dante Calabria kept the hosts up 64-61. Both teams felt the pressure of a crucial game as scoring stopped for a full 5 minutes until Cook again with a triple. Torres and Bakic traded points as the teams entered the last 90 seconds in a new tie, 66-66. Iturbe and Lamma went 1-for-2 from the line while Raicevic tied again on 68-68. Lamma's next drive put Bologna in front with 16 seconds left, but on Red Star's last possession, Cook made a marvelous assist to Raicevic, who dunked with 3 seconds left, sending the game to overtime at 70-70. Dragicevic's free throw to start the extra period was Red Star's only point for 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Meanwhile, a three-point play by Kristaps Janicenoks and free throws by Torres and Iturbe gave Fortitudo a five-point lead, 76-71. Cook, however, hit 2 foul shots and Boris Bakic a basket-and-free throw to tie again, 76-76, with 44 seconds left. A Bologna turnover gave Red Star the winning possession as Dragicevic was fouled and hit a free throw with 9 seconds on the clock. The last possession for Bologna finished with a crucial turnover by Mancinelli and Red Star took a huge road win.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008