In arguably one of the best games so far in this 2012-13 Eurocup season, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade grabbed a key road win in difficult Group L by edging Ratiopharm Ulm 95-100. Igor Rakocevic paced the winners with 32 points. Boris Savovic added 17, Elton Brown had 16 and 10 rebounds while Vuk Radivojevic got 13 points for Zvezda. John Bryant led Ulm with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Allan Ray added 19 points, Steven Esterkamp had 16 and Per Guenther got 15 for the hosts. Ray shined early in the game but Rakocevic stepped up late in the first quarter to give Zvezda a 17-19 lead after 10 minutes. Radivojevic struck three times from downtown and Brown led a 0-9 run which made the guests boost their margin to 27-36, enough to keep a 39-48 lead at halftime. Rakocevic and Brown paced Zvezda after the break and Savovic soon gave the guests a 58-69 edge after 30 minutes. Ulm managed to get within 68-71 but Rakocevic and Savovic stepped up to gave Zvezda a 84-93 margin with less than 2 minutes to go. Ulm managed to get within 93-96 and but Radivojevic and Rakocevic combined for 4-of-6 free throws in the final 19 seconds to seal the outcome down the stretch, leading Zvezda to a good-as-gold road win.
Ray got Ulm going with 7 unanswered points, as Ulm held Zvezda scoreless for more than 3 minutes. Rakocevic tried to change things with a layup, igniting a 0-6 run in which Bojan Subotic had 4 points to bring Zvezda within 7-6. Daniel Theis and Rakocevic traded free throws and Savovic tied the game at 9-9. Guenther hit foul shots but Rasko Katic matched it with a jump hook and Rakocevic struck from downtown to give Zvezda its first lead, 11-14. Esterkamp sank back-to-back triples but Rakocevic shined with a layup-plus-foul and Branko Lazic put the guests back ahead, 17-19. Lance Jeter joined the three-point shootout, Savovic scored in the paint and free throws by Brown gave the guests a 20-23 edge. A layup by Dane Watts fixed the score at 22-23 after 10 minutes. Jeter took over with a three-point play early in the second quarter that Radivojevic erased with consecutive corner triples. Bryant dunked it but a red hot Radivojevic swished another three-pointer and a dunk by Brown made Ulm call timeout at 27-34. Brown scored again and Mike Scott capped a 0-9 run with a backdoor layup. Ray struck from downtown and a coast-to-coast layup by Guenther made Zvezda call timeout at 32-38. Rakocevic and Ray exchanged three-pointers and a layup by Esterkamp brought Ulm within 37-42. Marko Simonovic took over with a three-point play, Thais ignited the crowd with a tip-in and a slam by Katic kept Zvezda way ahead, 39-48, at halftime.
Philipp Schwethelm made free throws right after the break and even when Katic scored in the paint, Bryant and Watts brought Ulm a bit closer, 44-50. Rakocevic shined with a power layup but Bryant matched it with an acrobatic basket and Jeter scored in transition to makre Zvezda call timeout at 48-52. Brown shined with a big basket in the paint and a backdoor layup by Rakocevic boosted the guests' lead to 48-56. Ray and Bryant made foul shots but Savovic and Radivojevic kept Zvezda way ahead, 52-60. Thais hit a jump hook but Rakocevic erased it with a five-meter jumper and a layup by Brown made it a double-digit game, 54-64. Rakocevic, Theis, Guenther and Scott made free throws and a layup by Savovic fixed the score at 58-69 after 30 minutes. Esterkamp struck from downtown early in the second quarter and matched DeMarcus Nelson's off-balance jumper with an acrobatic shot. Keaton Nankivil dunked it and a three-point play for a 68-71 Ulm deficit with over 7 minutes left. Rakocevic stepped up with a jumper and free throws but Esterkamp and Guenther kept Ulm as close as 73-76. Brown hit free throws, Bryant shined with back-to-back baskets but Savovic and Rakocevic answered from downtown to give Zvezda fresh air at 77-84. An outstanding Rakocevic and a three-pointer by Savovic seemed to seal the outcome, 84-93, in the next-to-last minute but a three-point play by Watts, free throws by Bryant and back-to-back layups by Jeter and Guenther brought Ulm within 93-96 with 20 seconds left. Radivojevic and Rakocevic split free throws, Bryant scored down low and Rakocevic drew a foul with 4 seconds to go, hitting both attemps to seal Zvezda's win.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013