Real Madrid of Spain has come back from a big upset a week earlier by taking care of its Group C business on the road Thursday with a 71-83 win at KK Zadar of Croatia. Dragan Tarlac led the visitors with 22 points and dominated the paint allnight. Sasha Djordjevic added 13, Alberto Herreros and Dusan Vukcevic 11 for the winners. Zadar, which made a game of it more than once, got 20 points from Rumeal Robinson, 16 from Davor Marcelic and 11 each from Ivan Grgat and Marko Popovic. In the end, Madrid was able to raise its record to 2-1 record, even though the Spanish powerhouse made easy things difficult and had to "win twice" to end the game as it intended. Despite great experience in a veteran lineup, Real Madrid managed to squander a 19-point lead and let an almost dead Zadar get back into the game. This dead team had an inspired Robinson on court, an excellent left-handed point guard who was once drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, and tonight set the pace of the game. He filled Real's basket time after time and led his team very close to the the visitors in the third period.
Real Madrid had hit the halftime lockerrooms with a comfortable lead of 15 points (28-43) mainly due to the great game in the paint, but also thanks to the great three-point shooting (4 for 9 attempts against the 1 for 7 of Zadar), and dominance in rebounding (11-16). At the beginning of the third quarter, Real pulled its lead away to 30-47 but then Robinson appeared and the deficit began to be neutralized little by little. When Marco Popovic, son of the coach, Petar, hit a buzzer-beater from the 3-point range to stop the scoreboard at 55-61, it was obvious that Zadar wasn't as dead as everybody thought, and back into the game. The last moments of the last period turned out to be decisive when Robinson and Tomislav Ruzic missed two attempts beyond the 6.25 line while Dusan Vukcevic and Sasha Djordjevic, after a steal, lengthened Madrid's lead to 55-64. Zadar still had the energy to put a threat on Madrid again - 65-68 on a basket by Popovic, 67-70 on another by Davor Marcelic - but that was it. Four free throws converted by Djordjevic and two more by Vukcevic sealed the deal.
Thursday, October 25, 2001