Marjanovic's double-double lifts Crvena Zvezda past ALBA
Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade grabbed its first-ever Top 16 win by downing ALBA Berlin 86-69 in Group E in the Serbian capital on Thursday. Zvezda improved to 1-4 while ALBA dropped to 2-3. Boban Marjanovic paced the winners with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Charles Jenkins added 12, Branko Lazic had 10 while Marcus Williams dished 10 assists for the hosts. Jamel McLean led ALBA with 14 points. Reggie Redding and Cliff Hammonds each added 11 for the guests. Nemanja Dangubic and Williams helped Zvezda to an early 13-6 run. A buzzer-beating layup by Jaka Blazic made it a double-digit lead, 22-12, after 10 minutes. Branko Lazic and an outstanding Stefan Jovic fueled a 12-0 run that broke the game open, 40-20. Marjanovic helped Zvezda keep a safe 47-29 margin at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as Zvezda kept a double-digit lead all the way until the final buzzer.
First quarter: Zvezda gets big lead
Both teams struggled to score early until Jamel McLean banked in a close shot to get ALBA going. Nemanja Dangubic answered from downtown, but McLean nailed a fall-away jumper for a 3-4 score. Dangubic shined with a layup off the baseline and a put-back slam by Luka Mitrovic gave Zvezda a 7-4 lead. Charles Jenkins ignited the crowd with a wild driving layup and a free throw by Marjanovic boosted the hosts' lead to 10-4. Hammonds stepped up with a four-meter jumper, which Marcus Williams bettered with a bomb from downtown. Marko Banic swished his trademark baseline jumper and McLean added an off-balance basket to keep ALBA within 13-10. Mitrovic took over with a put-back basket and a three-point play by Marjanovic gave Zvezda plenty of fresh air at 18-10. After Stevan Jovic scored in transition, Leon Radosevic answered with a driving layup and a buzzer-beating basket by Jaka Blazic restored a 22-12 Zvezda lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: 12-0 run breaks the game
Alex King nailed a three-pointer early in the second quarter. Jovic buried a jumper off the dribble and soon scored off a steal to boost Zvezda's margin to 26-15. McLean kept pacing ALBA with a driving basket but a red hot Jovic did better with a corner three-pointer. Neils Giffey answered from downtown, Nikola Kalinic split free throws and Williams nailed another one from beyond the arc to break the game open, 33-20. Blazic made free throws and consecutive fast break baskets by Branko Lazic boosted the hosts' lead to 40-20, after a 12-0 run. Alex Renfroe scored in penetration and free throws by Banic got ALBA closer, 40-24. Marjanovic hit foul shots, Renfroe answered with a driving layup and a three-pointer by Reggie Redding gave ALBA hope at 42-29. Marjanovic stepped up at both ends to improve the hosts' margin to 47-29 at halftime.
Third quarter: ALBA tries, Zvezda keeps lead
McLean took over with a wild dunk in transition immediately after the break. Marjanovic made free throws, Banic scored in the low post but Jenkins quickly answered with a fast break basket for a 51-33 Zvezda margin. Williams found Lazic for a wide open three-pointer, McLean scored around the basket and a fast break layup by Blazic made it a 21-point game, 56-35. Hammonds scored around the basket but Kalinic improved that with a corner triple. King stepped up with a put-back layup and Radosevic kept ALBA within 59-40. Banic sank free throws and a three-pointer by Akeem Vargas made Zvezda call timeout at 59-45, after a 0-8 run. Dangubic buried a six-meter shot, Kalinic and Renfroe traded foul shots and Williams gave Zvezda a 64-47 margin.
Fourth quarter: Zvezda makes history
Jenkins swished a five-meter jumper early in the fourth quarter. Redding tried to change things with a driving layup but Jenkins scored in penetration for a 68-49 Zvezda margin. Dangubic made free throws, as Zvezda started to use longer possessions to run the game clock down. Jenkins and McLean did not miss from the foul line and a dunk by Marjanovic restored a 74-53 Zvezda edge. Kalinic and Hammonds struck from downtown and free throws by Jenkins sealed the outcome, 79-56, midway through the fourth quarter. Redding and Radosevic didn't give up but everything was said and done already. ALBA returned home in need to bounce back while Zvezda had plenty of time to celebrate a truly historical win.
Thursday, January 29, 2015