A career-best night from Preston Shumpert helped Besiktas salvage the rarest of basketball results – a tie – as Besiktas ColaTurka carried the decision it its ULEB Cup, Last 16 series with Red Star to Istanbul next week. Shumpert scored 32 as Besiktas earned an 80-80 tie at Pionir Arena in Belgrade, Serbia. The hosts were in control for much of the night, but Shumpert’s outstanding evening plus a series of costly Red Star mistakes kept the visitors alive. The ticket to the Final Eight will be decided next week in a winner-takes-all contest on Besiktas’s home court, where the team is 6-0 in ULEB Cup action this season. Red Star’s young big men Tadija Dragicevic and Elmedin Kikanovic rose to the occasion for the home team on a night when star point guard Omar Cook was without a field goal in 10 attempts – 9 from downtown! – and scored a season-low 6 points. Dragicevic led the way with 22 points and Kikanovic posted a season-high 18. In addition to Preston, Predrag Drobnjak added 12 points and Kaya Peker had 10 for the visitors.
The game got off to an even start with the teams trading baskets as Besiktas’s Serbian big man Drobnjak scored 6 points in the first six minutes, while Kikanovic matched his output for Red Star. Dragicevic hit his first bomb in the last minute of the opening period as Red Star grabbed a 20-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. Steven Markovic added a jumper for a 5-point margin, leaving Besiktas scoreless for more than three minutes. With strong defense, the home team forced the guests to many turnovers and the lead grew to 25-19 midway through the second period. But when Miroslav Raicevic replaced Dragicevic, Peker took advantage of the situation, scoring 4 straight points from the line. Shumpert added a triple and the team from Istanbul led 29-30. Besiktas surprised Red Star switching to zone as Shumpert found his way thru the paint, scoring 8 straight points at one point. Dragicevic came back and fired another bomb to get his team within 34-36 at halftime.
With his first points in the game, Omar Cook gave Red Star a 38-36 lead early in the third period. Inspired by Marko Cvetkovic and his 5 straight points, Red Star used a 7-0 run to force Besiktas to call timeout trailing 49-42. When Christian Dalmau fell into foul trouble and Peker injured a muscle, the guests were in serious trouble. But Shumpert was keeping his team alive. He continued to score at will and almost single-handedly pushed Besiktas back on top 57-58, before Mirko Kovac struck at the buzzer to make it 59-58 after 30 minutes. Markovic joined in with a triple, but Drobnjak answered with a three-point play. The margin remained the same even though Kikanovic scored 4 points in the paint, because Shumpert did the same at the other side. Then Dragicevic woke up with two bombs and Red Star suddenly led 75-68 with five minutes left. However Boris Bakic committed a technical foul that gave hope to Besiktas as Shumpert cut the gap to 2 points. With two minutes to go, Shumpert fired from downtown and the guests led 78-79. In the final minute, Apodaca scored once from the line and Kikanovic tied it at 80-80 to set up an exciting return leg in Istanbul next week.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008