Crvena Zvezda thrills fans with second straight win
Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade notched its second straight victory in Group D by winning at home 88-77 over Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. Jaka Blazic poured in 16 points for the winners, who improved to 2-3. Blake Schilb added 14 points while Rasko Katic, Boban Marjanovic and DeMarcus Nelson all tallied 12 points for Belgrade. Crvena Zvezda made just 2-of-13 three-pointers (15.4 percent), while Vilnius made 11-of-26 (42.3%) from long range. But Belgrade converted 68.2% from two-point range. In the end, Lietuvos Rytas dropped its fourth consecutive game to fall to 1-4 in the group despite Martynas Gecevicius and Renaldas Seibutis both scoring 17 points. Juan Palacios added 13 points, Omar Cook had 4 points and 10 assists, and Stevan Jelovac chipped in a career-high 11 points.
First quarter: Rytas has no answer for Marjanovic
Crvena Zvezda coach Dejan Radonjic made one change to his line-up with Marjanovic coming on for Katic alongside Nelson, Branko Lazic, Schilb and Luka Mitrovic. Lietuvos coach Dirk Bauermann also swapped one player as Gecevicius replaced Steponas Babrauskas with the other starters being Cook, Seibutis, Palacios and Darius Songalia. The game started with an unsportsmanlike foul on Nelson, resulting in a Cook free throw and Palacios jumper for a 0-3 lead. After Marjanovic got Crvena Zvevda on the board with two free throws, Schilb gave the hosts the lead and Marjanovic was just way too big inside and pushed the lead to 6-3. A Gecevicius triple evened the game but Belgrade responded with a 6-0 run for a 12-6 lead. Gecevicius was Lietuvos Rytas’s main weapon and nailed another triple only to see Schilb score again and Blazic hit a floater in the lane for a 16-9 advantage. Bauermann called a timeout and his troops responded with a 1-7 run thanks to five points from Jelovac off the bench to cut it to 17-16. The gap was 19-16 after one quarter as Nelson knocked down a jumper.
Second quarter: Vilnius gets back in game with 15-7 run
Blazic started the second quarter with a trey to push the lead to 22-16 but Jelovac continued his strong game with another triple. The Belgrade lead was back to five before Blazic went off the glass with a layup and Jelovac hit a layup after a steal to eclipse his career high with 10 points after just 12 minutes of action. And the game was knotted at 24-24 on Gecevicius’s three-ball. Mitrovic answered right back with a long ball but Lietuvos Rytas took the lead on Tautvydas Lideka’s basket and a jumper by Seibutis to make it 27-28. Marjanovic came back in and dunked right away. But another triple by Gecevicius put Vilnius up 29-31 to complete the 7-15 run. Schilb hit right back with back-to-back baskets and another jumper had Crvena Zvezda up 36-33. Four Vilnius points were followed by four from Belgrade before a trey by Babrauskas knotted the contest at 40-40. But Marjanovic dunked home right at the buzzer to give Crvena Zvevda a 42-40 lead at the break.
Third quarter: Blazic comes up big in third quarter for Belgrade
A Mitrovic inside score and two Schilb free throws pushed the Crvena Zvezda advantage to 46-40. Seibutis responded with back-to-back triples to even the game at 46-46. Both teams came up with spectacular plays as Nelson had a driving layup and then Palacios drove and threw down a dunk as it was 48-48. Two Mitrovic foul shots and a Marjanovic dunk had the cushion back to four points for the hosts – 52-48 – and a Blazic three-point play got the lead to 55-50. Cook temporarily cut it back to two points but Marko Simonvic scored his first points of the game and Nelson’s three-point play gave Crvena Zvezda its biggest lead at 60-53. Gecevicius would not let his team down and nailed a triple before two Blazic free throws left the hosts up 62-56 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Blazic, Katic finish Rytas off
Blazic grabbed a steal and fed Simonovic for an easy layup on the break to open the fourth quarter. Palacios split two free throws before Ivan Radenovic hit to give Crvena Zvezda its biggest lead 66-57. Another Radenovic score and a Blazic layup increased the cushion to 70-59. Songalia scored for the guests but Blazic and Nelson hit layups as the lead grew to 74-61, resulting in a Bauermann timeout with six minutes left. Katic was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Seibutis, who made three of four free throws to get it to 74-64. But Vilnius turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and Katic went back to the other end for a lay-up off the glass and then converted three of four free throws after a drawn foul and an unsportsmanlike foul on Cook at the lead swelled to 79-64 with four minutes to play. Three free throws by Vilnius got the game to with 81-69 but Katic put back an offensive rebound to get it back to 14 points. Lietuvos Rytas would not get closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Friday, November 15, 2013