Anadolu Efes improved its chances to clinch a Top 16 spot in difficult regular season Group C by downing Partizan mt:s 67-58 at Sinan Erden Arena in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday. Both teams are now tied a 3-3 but Efes has a 2-0 record against Efes, in what would be a decisive factor if both teams remain tied at the end of the regular season. Sasha Vujacic paced the winners with 19 points. Dusko Savanovic added 16 while Stanko Barac had 10 for Efes. Milan Macvan led Partizan 15 points. Danilo Andjusic and Acie Law each added 10 for the guests. Efes opened the game with an 9-2 run but an outstanding Macvan and a big basket by Law allowed Partizan to get a 15-17 lead after 10 minutes. Outstanding defense and an unstoppable Vujacic helped Efes to get a slim lead, 30-28, at the break. Efes held Partizan scoreless in the next 7 minutes and a 9-0 run that Esteban Batista capped with free throws gave his team a 39-28 margin. Andjusic managed to bring Partizan within 53-47 with over 6 minutes to go but Vujacic and Savanovic stepped up in crunch time to lead Efes to a very important win.
Ersan Ilyasova got Efes going with a put-back layup and Sasha Vujacic added a jumper for a 4-0 lead. Partizan tried to run its offense through Nikola Pekovic but he missed twice around the basket against Ermal Kuqo's defense. Milan Macvan scored down low but consecutive jumpers by an unstoppable Vujacic boosted the hosts' lead to 8-2. Partizan adjusted its defense and Macvan sank a long jumper from the left wing. Vladimir Lucic sank free throws and Macvan tied the game with a mid-range shot, 8-8, after a 0-6 run. Kuqo hit a jump hook and free throws by Vujacic gave Efes some fresh air at 12-9. Barac hit a close jumper, as the hosts tried to open the floor with Savanovic at power forward. Marko Cakarevic downed a mid-range shot and Macvan scored again to keep Partizan within 14-13. Free throws by Dragan Milosavljevic gave Partizan its first lead, 14-15. An acrobatic layup by Law made Partizan stay ahead, 15-17, after 10 minutes.
Barac knocked down a mid-range jumper early in the second quarter and free throws by Savanovic put Efes back ahead, 19-17. Dusan Kecman nailed a jumper but Partizan could not get Pekovic involved. The guests kept finding other scoring options, however, and a floating layup by Law put Partizan back ahead, 19-21. Vlado Ilievski split free throws and a jumper by Savanovic provided another lead change, 22-21. Kecman shined with a second-chance basket - and the free throw that came with it but Barac answered with his own layup-plus-foul and scored around the rim for a 27-24 Efes lead. Miroslav Raduljica buried a jumper that Cenk Akyol bettered with a bomb from downtown. Partizan improved its defense off a timeout, making Efes go scoreless in the final 4 minutes in this half. The guests struggled to find good shots, however, as free throws by Raduljica got Partizan within 30-28 as both teams headed back to the locker rooms.
Both teams kept struggling to score after the break until Vujacic made a free throw on Pekovic's third foul. Partizan had been limited to 2 points in more than 7 minutes already and Akyol split free throws for a 32-28 Efes lead. Partizan simply could not find the way to the basket, taking off-balance shots at the end of long possessions. Vujacic set the crowd on fire with a three-pointer that forced the guests to stop the game, 35-28. Vujacic stayed on fire with a fast break layup off a steal and free throws by Batista made it a double-digit game, 39-28, after a 9-0 run. Partizan went scoreless for more than 6 minutes in the third quarter until Danilo Andjusic and Macvan hit free throws for a 40-32 deficit. Vujacic buried a three-pointer but Raduljica briefly silenced the crowd with a big dunk in transition. Vujacic and Raduljica traded free throws but 4 unanswered points by Savanovic boosted the hosts' lead to 49-36 after 30 minutes.
Sinan Guler fed Batista for an easy layup early in the fourth quarter but Dragan Milosavljevic bettered that with a seven-meter bomb - Partizan's first three-pointer tonight. Andjusic added free throws to give the guests some hope, 51-41, with over 8 minutes to go. Batista scored around the basket but Andjusic nailed back-to-back three-pointers to bring Partizan back to life, 53-47. Savanovic answered from downtown to keep Efes out of trouble, 56-47, with under 6 minutes to go. Pekovic hit a jump hook - his first basket - but Guler stepped up with a driving layup. Law fired in a jumper but free throws by Vujacic restored a 60-51 Efes lead. The hosts had started to use long possessions to run the game clock down but shots did not fall in. Law scored in penetration but a baseline jumper by Savanovic sealed the outcome, 62-53, with 2 minutes to go. Partizan kept trying but Efes had already sealed a well-deserved, critical home win.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011