Nenad Krstic proved that he's back and better than ever, leading Partizan to a 77-67 victory over Olimpija in front of more than 6,000 fans in Belgrade on Thursday. The win extended Partizan's record to 5-3 in Group A, good enought to stand alone in second place behind Barcelona. Olimpija slipped to 3-5, part of a four-way tie at the end of the group. Krstic dominated under the boards, knocking down 6 of 7 shots on his way to a game-high 16 points. Dusan Kecman added 14 points, while Gerald Brown and Fred House each had 12 and Djuro Ostojic registered a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Marko Maravic led Olimpija with 13 poinits, while Aloysius Anagonye scored 12 and Robert Stelmahers had 11. Partizan led from early on and used its size advantage around the basket to get high-percentage shots and to limit Olimpija to just one offensive rebound in the first half. Overall, Partizan out-rebounded its guests 31-20.
Olimpija were the first to score, but Partizan center Djuro Ostojic scored 5 points with 2 offensive rebounds in the first three minutes of action. After Olimpija's Aloysius Anagonye tied it at 9-9, Partizan made 6-0 run forcing Olimpija call timeout. Partizan's defense was tough throughout the first quarter, forcing Olimpija into difficult shots. Partizan controlled the pace of the game until Olimpija found its shooting touch in the final minute of the quarter. The guests managed to knock down two triples at the end of the first period, including one by Marko Maravic which cut Partizan's lead down to 19-18 lead when the buzzer sounded.
The teams exchanged baskets as the second quarter got underway. Partizan got the better of the exchange, grabbing offensive rebounds that helped it grab the lead. Nenad Krstic proved that he's completely healthy, as he scored five points over the final minutes of the second quarter, igniting an 8-2 Partizan run. The hosts had a seven point lead in final seconds of the quarter, but Vladimir Boisa managed to match his teamate Maravic's long range heroics of the first quarter. Boisa's triple at the buzzer brought Olimpija back within just four points of Partizan at the halftime break, 36-32.
When Simon Petrov scored triple at the begining of the third period the score was tied 38-38. But Partizan quickly answered with an 11-3 run over the next 4 minutes. The hosts played hard defense, and Olimpija's players were too nervous to react with precision. Vladimir Boisa and Marino Bazdaric committed their 4th personals in the middle of the third period and after that Partizan dominated under the boards for the rest of the game. With 3 minutes to go in the third period Ostojic scored and gave Partizan its first double-digit lead, 53-42. Olimpija couldn't get any closer in the third period and Partizan entered the final stanza ahead 63-52.
In the fourth quarter, Olimpija tried to do something from perimeter, but its sniper Saso Ozbolt stepped at the court and missed two quick shots. Dusan Kecman scored Partizan's first and only three-pointer of the game after 32 minutes. Anagonye and Maravic responded for the guests with two baskets and after Petrov added three pointer Olimpija had gone on a quick 0-7 run. The score was 66-63 with 4 minutes to go and Olimpija was back into the game. But guests made lot of mistakes in those crucial moments missing four times in attack. Partizan also missed 4 attempts but the score was the same when Ostojic, Krstic and House made winning points. With 2 minutes left, House gave Partizan a ten point lead (73-63) after scoring off an offensive rebound. Krstic crowned his great game with a dunk that put Partizan ahead 76-64 and Olimpija ran out of time.
Thursday, January 8, 2004