Partizan holds off feisty Hamburg
Partizan NIS Belgrade opened the Zeljko Obradovic era in the 7DAYS EuroCup with a 97-106 road victory over a feisty Hamburg Towers side on Tuesday night at Edel-optics.de Arena. The visitors led by as many as 28 in the third quarter before Hamburg fought back and cut the deficit to 9 in the closing minutes. Kevin Punter led the way with 26 points on 8-of-8 two-point shooting in his EuroCup debut. Dallas Moore made 5 of 5 threes en route to 17 points, Yam Madar and Alen Smailagic each scored 13 and
Nemanja Dangubic had 10. Smailagic also grabbed 9 rebounds and Madar dished 5 assists. Caleb Homesley paced the Hamburg attack with 21 points and 7 assists. Jaylon Brown scored 18, Zach Brown 15, Maik Kotsar 14 and Seth Hinrichs 10.
Partizan started strong with baskets by Smailagic and Punter, respectively, on the game's first two possessions. Justas Hollatz had the honor of scoring Hamburg's first-ever basket in the EuroCup. Kotsar scored twice as Hamburg grabbed its first lead, 8-7. Punter took charge with a four-point play, a steal and a basket-plus-foul to give the visitors a 10-16 advantage. The hosts responded with 10 unanswered points, including back-to-back three-pointers from Homesley that gave Hamburg a 20-16 edge. A triple by Madar and free throws by Punter see-sawed the lead again. Free throws by Moore and Dangubic left Partizan with a 24-28 lead after 10 minutes.
Madar, who made a three just after the first-quarter buzzer had sounded, remained hot at the start of the second with a pull-up jumper and another three as the difference grew to 26-36. Moore also knocked down a pair of threes as the lead reached 13. Homesley countered from deep for Hamburg, but Rade Zagorac scored on back-to-back possessions to make it 31-49, after which the hosts called timeout. Though the Hamburg attack got back on track, Partizan continued to knock down threes; Moore again and Dangubic extended the lead to 33-55. Justus Hollatz and Zach Brown trimmed the deficit before Punter ended the half with a pair of baskets and the visitors were cruising at 40-61.
Dangubic and Jaylon Brown traded threes to start the second half. The margin reached 43-71 on Moore's fourth triple of the night. Hamburg showed signs of life with 7 straight points – 5 from Lukas Meisner, which prompted a Partizan timeout. Zach Brown kept the pressure on with another three and a pair of free throws to make it 55-75. Maximilian Di Leo drew the hosts within 18, but Punter got going again for Partizan. Homesley ended the third quarter with a triple that made it 66-88.
The hosts turned up the pressure on defense and Jaylon Brown hit back-to-back threes as Hamburg clawed its way to 74-90. Kotsar scored several inside as the difference closed to 82-95. Smailagic stepped up for Partizan, but a basket by Homesley and a steal and layup by Hinrichs got Hamburg to 86-97 with 3:44 remaining. Zach LeDay countered with a much-needed three from the corner. Zach Brown made it 91-100 with free throws, but Smailagic made free throws and Hamburg ran out of time for what would have been a sensational comeback.
Punter rewrites Partizan record book
Tuesday night marked Kevin Punter's 7DAYS EuroCup debut and he wasted little time in peppering his name – and this year's team – into the annals of Partizan NIS Belgrade history. Punter dominated with 26 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in compiling a club record performance index rating of 38 in the victory over Hamburg Towers. He edged Nigel Williams-Goss, who had a PIR of 37 for Partizan against Bilbao Basket in October 2017, for that distinction. Punter's scoring total was only fifth-best for Partizan in the competition; the record is 29 by Corey Walden set last season. He also became the first Partizan player to make 8 two-pointers without missing any and tied a club record by drawing 10 fouls.
An offensive explosion for the visitors
Partizan NIS Belgrade set several club records with a dominant offensive showing in Tuesday's victory over Hamburg Towers. The club set new marks in scoring, two-point accuracy, free-throw accuracy and PIR in its road win. The 106 points scored eclipsed the previous mark of 99 set against Virtus Segafredo Bologna in January 2020. Partizan made 20 of 26 two-pointers for 76.9% accuracy. Its previous best two-point shooting night was also in Germany in a season opener; Partizan shot 27 for 39 (69.2%) at ALBA Berlin in October 2017. The team missed only 1 free throw attempt out of its 25 (96%). The previous record was 13-for-14 shooting from the line (92.9%) last season at Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar. The PIR of 136 was 14 more than the previous mark set against Dolomiti Trento Energia in March 2020. On the downside, Partizan also committed the third-most turnovers in club history with 22. The most were 25 against Rytas Vilnius in October 2014.
Homesley, Hamburg impress in debut
Hamburg Tower's fightback to within single digits after trailing by as many as 28 points against Partizan NIS Belgrade sent a message about the talent and fighting spirit of this EuroCup newcomer. Caleb Homesley acquitted himself nicely in his first game in the competition; despite coming off the bench, he finished with team-highs of 21 points and 7 assists. Hamburg only turned the ball over 9 times, too. Hamburg was blown out of the water in a 16-33 second quarter and after falling further behind, it seemed the team might fall apart. However, over the final 17 minutes of the game Hamburg outscored Partizan 54-35 and who knows what might have happened if the game was a little longer.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021