Group A has a new challenger near the top as Partizan Mobtel pulled off its first road win of the season, 63-77 against Lottomatica in Rome on Thursday. The hosts only led comfortably in the first quarter but after that, Partizan tied the game at the break and later soared to double-digit leads in the second half. Partizan is now one of four teams at 2-1 in second place in the group, while Lottomatica dropped to 0-3. Gerald Brown led Partizan's scorers with 17 points, Djuro Ostojic and Frederick House added 15 apiece, the latter also adding 9 boards, and Dusan Kecman nailed 13. For Lottomatica, Carlton Myers and Doremus Bennerman led the way with 13 points and Marko Tusek chipped in with 10.
The game got off to a heated start with Myers and Kecman landing face-to-face three-pointers against each other for an 8-7 scoreboard after 3 minutes. House soon made his presence felt with a pair of free throws and a three-pointer of his own that jacked Partizan into the lead at 10-14. Bennerman and Griffith joined the battle with basket for Lottomatica and then Davide Bonora put the home team back in front, 17-16, from the free throw line. Marko Tusek added his own free shots and Lubos Barton a layup to complete a 11-4 run for Roma, which now led 21-18. Kosta Perovic and Vule Avdalovic scored late for Partizan, but Lottomatic was still able to hold a 25-21 advantage after 10 minutes.
Unlike after the opening tipoff, the first basket of the second quarter arrived after 4 minutes as defenses took over and forced turnovers on both sides. A free throw by Goran Cakic fell for Partizan like a green light, as the scoring resumed. Myers sank the triple and Tusek another to put Lottomatica ahead by 8 points, 32-24. Brown replied soon. also from the arc, triggering the definitive reaction for Partizan. Free throws by Kecman and House, and later a jumper by Perovic, pulled Partizan within a single point, 33-32. The hosts were against the wall in the last minutes of the second period, and up came Alex Righetti from downtown to give some air to his team, 36-34. But the guests wouldn't surrender and Kecman scored again to tie the game for the first time at 36-36 with less than 1 minute to go. The game would go into halftime with a 38-38 tie after another jumper by Perovic matched the last free throws by Myers.
The third quarter followed the trend of the second as Partizan continued to push. Perovic put the guests ahead 41-42 and then arrived the battle of dunkers, two for House and one for Griffith, as the guests surged ahead 43-47. Quiet until then, Djuro Ostojic added 4 points to the Partizan advantage, but Myers stopped that run with a triple, 46-51. The battle under the boards was being won convincingly by the guests, 14-22, and that translated to a new maximum advantage 48-57, after a triple by Cakic. To the relief of the home fans, however, Righetti and Bennerman added 4 quick points for Lottomatica to come within 50-58 score after 30 minutes.
The last quarter started with a double-digit lead for Partizan and the guests never looked back again. Lottomatica had in Bennerman its best man in offense, but Partizan was already sure it was going to win the game. Kecman sank a dunk and Ostojic added a jumper to make it 52-64. Lottomatic coach Piero Bucchi gave it a last try with a timeout, but the answer were two more free throws by Ostojic. Bennerman added a triple to put the deficit of Lottomatic again below the 10 points but that was it. Kecman first and then House, soaring from downtown, put Partizan ahead for good, 61-74 in minute 39.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Alessio Ditta, Rome