Red Star shed one of the two teams it was tied with for first place in Group F by holding back Panellinios of Greece 79-69 at home in Belgrade, Serbia on Tuesday. Red Star improved to 2-0 and will retain at least a piece of first place in the Group F table, while Panellinios dropped to 1-1. Red Star established big early leads that peaked at 20 points in the second quarter before Panellinios tried to make a game of it - but couldn't quite - in the second half. Tadija Dragicevic again paced the winners with 22 points, including 4 of 11 hits from three-point range. He got scoring help from Boris Bakic, with 14 points, and Nenad Misanovic, with 11. For Panellinios, the big gun was Mamadou N'Daiye, who poured in 26 points off the bench. Only Evangelos Karampoulas, with 14 points, joined him in double figures, however.
Panellinios jumped ahead 2-5 behind Anthony Grundy's scoring, but Dragicevic soon poured in 5 straight points and Mirko Kovac a triple for a 10-0 run by the hosts to a 12-5 lead. As its defense forced Panellinios into shooting long-distance misses, Red Star guards Boris Bakic and Omar Cook drilled triples in a new run of 15-0 that boosted the difference to 29-13 after one quarter. With N'Diaye's entrance, Panellinios started to play stronger under the boards, while Red Star took advantage of the lead to let teenager Pavel Gromyko play his first ULEB Cup minutes. Elmedin Kikanovic's free throws pushed Red Star's lead to 41-21 before Dimitris Kalaitzidis led Panellinios on a 0-7 run. Later he added another tirple that Kovac matched to preserve Red Star's double-digits lead, 45-35, after 20 minutes. Karamboulas opened the second-half scoring for Panellinios, and while Cook and Dragicevic kept hitting from behind the arc for Red Star, the visiting big men found easier ways to basket. Halfway through the third quarter, Panellinios was as close as 55-49 as the Greek defense now forced Red Star's guards into long-range misses. The quarter ended with Red Star clinging to a 63-57 advantage. Panellinios looked ready for a takeover as Gundy scored to open the final quarter and Red Star went scoreless for more than 4 minutes. But guests took no advantage as the score held at 66-59 in minute 35. Bakic finally scored twice in an 8-2 run and the home fans started to sing as Red Star eased its way to the finish of a second Group F win in as many tries.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007