Partizan PMB proved that despite its position, no game is easy for guests to Belgrade, as it stopped visiting Adecco Estudiantes 83-78 in Group A on Thursday. Partizan lifted its record to 2-7 but did not escape last place because Olympiacos also won. Estudiantes dropped to 3-6 and remains in sixth place. Blake Stepp booked 18 points for the winners, all coming on his 6 triples in just 7 attempts. Vule Avdalovic added 17 points and 8 assists. Uros Tripkovic and Petar Bozic contributed 12 points each. The best scorers for Estudiantes were Hernan Jasen with 19 points, Ruben Garces with 16, Andrae Patterson with 14 and Nikola Loncar with 13.
Partizan missed five three-pointers to start the game even though Predrag Samardziski had four offensive rebounds. Finally, Patterson made a basket at the other end to open the scoring. He then blocked Samardziski's dunk attempt as Estudiantes held Partizan scoreless for 4 minutes. Since Partizan's defense was almost as good, the hosts went ahead 3-2 when Luka Bogdanovic scored from downtown. Patterson registered 2 more blocks as Garces gave the guests a 3-6 lead. That started a 0-10 Estudiantes run in which Paterson and Loncar scored triples. Partizan was confused against the Estudiantes zone defense and soon faced a 7-18 deficit as Jasen scored twice. In the lst minute of the quarter, however, Tripkovic and Bozic managed to cut the difference to 15-21.
Bozic and teen forward Dejan Borovnjak, who came from the bench, led Partizan's 12-0 run to take over the game early in the second quarter. Borovnjak gave Partizan the lead again at 24-23, and soon Stepp fired a triple for 29-23. Estudiantes was losing a lot of balls, so Stepp and Avdalovic took advantage by adding 2 more shots from downtown as hosts sped ahead 37-29 after 18 minures. Garces lifted Estudiantes back within 37-34 at the half after incredible ups and downs by both teams.
Avdalovic opened the second half with another bomb from the arc, and Stepp added another of his own soon. Both were part of an 11-2 run that included points by Tripkovic and Kosta Perovic that ended with Partizan up 12 points, 48-36. Estudiantes switched to zone defense but its players seemed to feel the pressure. Only Garces kept guests in the game but he fell into foul trouble and had to go to the bench. Teenage guard Sergio Rodriguez took over for the visitors, but Tripkovic and Stepp punished the Estudiantes defense with 2 more triples. Jasen answered, but Partizan led 57-45 in the minute 27, although his dunk at the buzzer trimmed the difference to 60-52 after 30 minutes.
Led by Avdalovic, Stepp and Bozic, Partizan preserved its double-digit margin in the final quarter as Stepp added two more of his triples for a 70-54 difference. It didn't hold. Garces and Patterson brought the difference all the way down to 70-66 by leading a 0-12 Estudiantes run. Then, for 2 minutes, there was a rare festival of triples. Nacho Azofra, Jasen and Loncar traded shots from the arc with Bozic, Avdalovic and Slobodan Bozovic. When the dust settled, Partizan led 79-72 with 2 minutes left. Now, however, the long distance shots of Estudiantes missed, and the young Partizan team nailed down its second victory for the home crowd.
Thursday, January 6, 2005