Well, that was a pretty impressive way to advance into the Top 16! Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade hasn't always found it easy this season, suffering an especially difficult night in Round 4 when it surrendered a 22-point lead to fall to a shocking loss on the road to Germani Brescia Leonessa. But when the two teams met for a rematch on Wednesday night with Zvezda on the back of a three-game losing streak, the Serbian champion was in the mood to set a few things straight…and it succeeded in record-breaking fashion.
The tone was set straight away when Borisa Simanic scored a three-pointer from the home team's first possession and that proved to be the first of many. Very many. Zvezda went on to score 31 points in the first quarter and topped that by adding another 34 in the second – also keeping Brescia out at the other end, leaving the visitors with just 22 points at the half.
The 65-22 interval scoreline was the first of many records set on the night, as Zvezda's 43-point lead smashed the best ever mid-game margin in the competition – the previous record was only 33 points, achieved by Herbalife Gran Canaria against Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem in February 2016. And the two-quarter tally of 65 points was close to another record, the highest-scoring first half in EuroCup history was recorded by KK Zadar with 66 points against Siauliai in 2010.
Zvezda couldn't maintain that pace, but still ended up passing the 100-point mark to secure a Top 16-worthy victory with a smooth offensive display which yielded two club records in the 7DAYS EuroCup: the most three-pointers converted (15) and the most assists (29). And although there were standout individual performances, notably 4 triples apiece for Branko Lazic and Billy Baron and 10 assists for Joe Ragland, perhaps the most impressive aspect of Zvezda's numbers was that they ran deep through the roster: nine players dished at least 1 assist and nine scored at least 1 three-pointer.
Head coaches are notorious for always managing to find fault with even the most flawless of performances, but on this occasion Zvezda boss Milan Tomic just couldn't bring himself to do that. "Of course I’m satisfied, look at the scoreline!" he beamed after the game. "If I'm not satisfied now, something is wrong with me. I tried to find something bad, but I cannot find it!"