Ahead of every game, coaches and players will always emphasize the importance of starting well. From the opening tip, it’s crucial to get on the front foot. They will say: find your rhythm, make life difficult for the opponent, and seize the initiative as quickly as possible. It’s all about establishing momentum. Well, right now no team in the 7DAYS EuroCup is doing that better than Mornar Bar.
On Wednesday night, the Montenegrin team could not have possibly made a better start to its home meeting with Germani Brescia – a crucial encounter in the race for the Top 16 considering both teams came into the contest with 1-1 records.
The opening tip was won by Uros Lukovic. The ball fell to Aleksandar Lazic, who immediately passed it into the path of Lukovic and he raced straight to the basket and scored…with only 1 second off the clock. That wasn’t all. A few seconds later, Nemanja Vranjes grabbed a defensive rebound and Mornar went in transition, which ended with Kenny Gabriel feeding Derek Needham for a three-pointer. 5-0, 39 seconds played, and all five players had already made meaningful contributions.
They kept on coming: Lukovic received a pass from Needham and scored again; Lazic grabbed a defensive rebound; Vranjes drew a shooting foul and converted a couple of free throws; Gabriel made a steal; Lazic hit a two-pointer from a Vranjes assist; Lukovic pulled in an offensive board and kicked it out to Vranjes, who made another three-pointer.
Amazingly, with less than 3 minutes gone, Mornar led the game 14-0 with four different starters already getting on the scoresheet…and the only exception was Gabriel, who changed that on the next possession by draining a three-pointer.
Starts really don’t get much better than that.
The pace slowed somewhat after those frantic first 4 minutes – they could hardly be expected to maintain it – but Mornar still reached the end of the opening quarter with a 30-10 lead, setting a new club EuroCup record for points scored in the first quarter. The previous record had only stood for eight days because Mornar had also blasted 28 first-quarter points past Unicaja Malaga just last week.
This trend is very encouraging for Mornar Coach Mihailo Pavicevic, who should give himself a big pat on the back for his pregame pep talks – because whatever he is saying to his players in those final seconds before tip-off, it’s obviously working.