Partizan NIS Belgrade's first EuroCup game under new head coach Saso Filipovski was one for the record books. With 16 triples, Partizan set a club record for threes in a game and Marcus Paige, who made half of them, also set a club record for threes by a player. The fact that the team shot 55.2% from downtown – its second-best ever in the EuroCup – was too much for UNICS Kazan in a close game that Partizan won 89-86.
It was a close game that could have gone either way. Partizan had several key players who stepped up. William Mosely returned to action and helped lock down the paint with his defensive presence, which included 2 blocks. Rade Zagorac did a little bit of everything in scoring a season-high 14 points alongside 8 rebounds and 4 assists. On an otherwise quiet night for Rashawn Thomas, he forced a steal with 10 seconds left that led to a Codi Miller-McIntyre slam and a 3-point lead.
However, no player had more eye-popping numbers than Paige, who made a pair of threes in the second quarter, 3 in the third and 3 more in the fourth on his career-night. The guard finished with 25 points on 8-pf-10 three-point shooting. Each of his first 2 triples came with the team down 6 and prevented UNICS from pulling away. His third came with 3 minutes left in the third quarter for a 57-52 lead. Soon after he connected on consecutive possessions more Partizan's biggest lead of the night, 63-55.
UNICS replied with a 0-9 run to take the lead early in the fourth. Paige set the Partizan record with a three that made it 68-64. After a few more lead changes, the game was tied at 78-78 with 2 minutes to go. Paige knocked down threes on the next two possessions for an 84-80 lead, which the hosts managed to protect the rest of the way.
Paige smashed the club record for triples which had been 5 and was shared by six players, most recently Corey Walden. He became the fifth player to shoot 8 for 10 from downtown in a EuroCup game, joining Pedro Robles (Valencia, February 2003), Jurica Ruzic (Le Mans, January 2004), Luke Babbitt (Nizhny Novgorod, December 2013) and John Roberson (ASVEL Villeurbanne, December 2017). No EuroCup player with at least 8 threes has ever shot better than these men's 80% in a game.
Partizan's 16 triples were its most ever in the EuroCup and the club's most in European competition since it hit 17 in a EuroLeague game against Estudiantes in January 2005. The previous club record in the EuroCup was 14 triples against Virtus Segafredo Bologna last season.
Will great three-point shooting come to be a hallmark of the Coach Filipovski era at Partizan? Only time will tell. Regardless, the first time we got to see them together was a historic night for Partizan basketball.