After a regular season full of challenges, Telindus Oostende took the high road into the ULEB Cup elimination rounds from Group F by pounding host Red Star 86-100 on Tuesday in Belgrade, Serbia. Oostende finished with a 6-4 record in second place following its fourth win in five games. Red Star, also 6-4 and already qualified, lost the tiebreak between them because its victory in their first-leg game came by a single point, on a buzzer-beating basket that Oostende later protested. Oostende lost that protest, but avenged the loss in style. Tuesday's victory also came three days after Oostende won a replayed game for a second time due to a similar lost protest, an appeal of which is still possible. In the end, Red Star stands to finish third in the group and CEZ Nymburk fourth after losing to group leader Dynamo Moscow at home. Oostende used a 0-11 first-quarter run to open double-digit leads that reached a high of 23 points midway through the third quarter before Red Star rallied late. Sam Van Rossom led six Oostende scorers in double figures with 25 points. Chuck Davis added 18 points, Veselin Petrovic and Titus Ivory 15 each, while Elvir Ovcina had a double-double of 13 and 12 rebounds and Jerry Green chipped in 11 points. Tadija Dragicevic paced Red Star again with 24 points, with Omar Cook posting 19 and Elmedin Kikanovic 12.
Without starting guard Mirko Kovac, who suffered a back injury, Red Star opened the game with points from the line by Dragicevic. Then he and Van Rossom traded triples before Ovcina inspired Oostende to a 0-7 run and a 7-12 lead. Ovcina scored 7 points in the opening five minutes, forcing Red Star to call timeout. After a minute’s break, Davis added 4 points, Green joined him and the guests led 12-26 after a 0-11 run. Thanks to a great defensive job and lot of fastbreaks, Oostende ended first period with a 20-31 lead. With 2 triples in a row, Ivory maintained the guests’ double-digit lead. Red Star tried with three guards, but Oostende limited them with a zone defense and a 2-7 spurt made it 32-44. Van Rossom made the gap wider with triple and a second-chance jumper. He crowned Oostende’s great performance in first half with another bomb as the score was 42-58 by halftime. The visitors started second half with 7 straight points, leaving Red Star scoreless for more than two minutes as the margin jumped to 23 points. The hosts continued to be confused on defense and soon trailed 43-71 midway through the third period. Two minutes later, Mladjan Sljivancanin fouled out. His teammates managed to slightly cut the gap, but Oostende still had a huge 55-75 lead after 30 minutes. Red Star players made another effort with 14-5 run and it was the Oostende bench that called timeout with a 69-80 lead. When Cook fired from downtown, the margin was cut to 10 points and hosts’ fans woke up. But the time was passing too fast for Red Star. Dragicevic committed his fifth personal foul with three minutes to go, making the guests' job a bit easier as Oostende celebrated a big win and second place in the group.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008