Partizan bounces back to down Tofas
Partizan NIS Belgrade improved to 2-0 by launching a big comeback over Tofas Bursa, eventually prevailing 93-80 at the end of an exciting showdown in the Serbian capital. Tofas, which drops to 1-1, established several double-digit advantages in the first half, leading by 15-29 early in the second quarter. But Partizan launched an 11-0 run after the break to move ahead, and then leaned on a much-improved defense to surge to victory in the final period. Rade Zagorac excelled for the home team, scoring 26 points on 8-of-12 field goal shooting, also adding 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. There were also big contributions from Novica Velickovic (15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), Nemanja Gordic (12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists) and Torrian Walden (12 points, 7 assists). Devin Williams paced Tofas with 18 points, while DJ White and Tarik Phillip both scored 16 and Matt Lojeski added 12.
A fast start from Phillip – two baskets and one assist in the first three possessions – gave Tofas a 2-7 lead, which White and Lojeski soon extended from long range. White’s mid-range jumper made it a double-digit game, 9-19, and a pair of Williams baskets maintained the lead to 15-27 at the end of the first. Partizan rallied early in the second behind a pair of baskets apiece from Gordic and Velickovic, before White hit another couple of triples to make it 31-42. But Zagorac made a three-point play and a triple inside the final minute of the half, making it 45-49 at the break. Triples from Lojeski and Zagorac opened the third quarter scoring, and further deep strikes from Walden and Ognjen Jaromaz sent Partizan ahead at 54-52, and Jaromaz’s floater completed an 11-0 run. Williams and White responded from mid-range for a 56-56 tie, and baskets were then evenly traded to make it 66-66 at the end of the third. Zagorac scored from long-range and with a layup to edge Partizan ahead, and then added another triple for a 74-70 lead. Walden and White exchanged triples before dunks from Art Parakhouski and Velickovic sent Partizan ahead 83-74. Velickovic dropped home two more close-range scores for a double-digit lead, and Zagorac made a three-point play to seal the deal as the fans began their celebrations.
Near perfection early for Tofas
Tofas raced out to a 10-point first quarter lead thanks to near flawless offense: after six minutes, the Turkish team had scored 19 points on 4-of-4 two-point shooting and 3-of-5 three-pointers, also dishing 7 assists while committing no turnovers.
Partizan improves defense after the break
The first half was a feast of offense, with the teams combining for 94 points as Tofas took a 45-49 advantage into the locker room. But the second half saw Partizan immediately stop the visiting team’s flow by restricting Tofas to just one basket in the opening four minutes. That set the tone for the remainder of the game, with the Turkish team only scoring 17 points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth.
Zagorac sparks Partizan’s offense
With the Partizan defense belatedly doing its job at one end, Rade Zagorac took over at the other. His first big contribution came with 6 points in 35 seconds at the end of the first half, before putting his team ahead for good with 8 points in 66 seconds early in the final quarter.
Phillip piles up the numbers
One player who didn’t deserve to lose was all-action Tofas guard Tarik Phillip, who racked up 16 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists in a dynamic performance. Coming a week after he registered 17 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in his team’s Round 1 victory, he looks set for a stellar season.
Partizan will take its perfect record on the road to face Rytas Vilnius, while Tofas stays away from home in Round 3 to take on Umana Reyer Venice.
Tuesday, October 8, 2019