Partizan wears down Metropolitans late for road win
Partizan NIS Belgrade used a big fourth-quarter surge to collect an 82-89 victory at Boulogne Metropolitans 92 and hand the French side its first home loss of the season. Partizan wrestled away control with a 4-15 surge late to improve to 5-1 in Group A. Kevin Punter paced Partizan with a career-high 28 points while Zach LeDay poured in 15 points, Alen Smailagic scored 14 points and Aleksa Avramovic added 12 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in the win. Metropolitans dropped to 3-3 despite five players scoring in double figures. Keith Hornsby led the way with a career-high 22 points with David Michineau and Vince Hunter both scoring 16 points, Will Cummings adding 13 and Steeve Ho-You-Fat picking up 11 points in the loss.
Avramovic opened the game for the guests from long range while Hunter scored Metropolitans’ first points. Back-to-back three-pointers from Hornsby gave the hosts their first lead, 8-6. Punter responded with 5 points and Partizan led 8-13. LeDay added a triple of his own and Punter free throws had the Serbian side ahead 17-21. Metropolitans finished the first quarter strong with Michineau converting a three-point play in a 9-0 run to pull ahead 26-21 and it was 28-23 after 10 minutes.
Punter opened the second quarter with a three-pointer only to see Hornsby continue his strong game with a layup and triple to increase the lead to 33-26. Partizan got back into the game with Punter free throws and a Yam Madar triple trimmed the deficit to 35-34. Cummings scored 4 points to keep Metropolitans ahead before Dallas Moore hit free throws to give Partizan the lead and Smailagic made it 43-46. Hunter answered with his first three-pointer of the season to tie the game and Hornsby’s free throws had Metropolitans up 53-50 at the break.
Hunter’s basket started the second half to increase the lead to 5 points. Smailagic brought Partizan back ahead with a pair of three-pointers to make it 58-60. The back and forth continued as Metropolitans answered with 5 straight points to go up 63-60. It remained close with Ho-You-Fat scoring 4 points and Avramovic adding 4 at the other end. The game was even 68-68 after 30 minutes.
Smailagic started the final frame to put Partizan ahead and Nemanja Dangubic hit a three-pointer and Balsa Koprivica picked up two inside scores as the guests’ lead grew to 71-79. Cummings managed a big three-pointer to keep things close. Punter followed with a big block and 2 free throws and LeDay added a block and fastbreak dunk as the advantage grew to 74-85 with less than 3 minutes to play. After scoring just one basket in more than 7 minutes, Michineau drained a triple with 72 seconds left to trim the gap to 77-85. But the hosts could not muster a comeback.
Zach Leday is Partizan’s Mr. Do-It-All
While Kevin Punter led Partizan in scoring with a career-high 28 points, Zach LeDay helped out with some great all-around play. He made 5 of 11 shots and 4 of 5 free throws for 15 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. LeDay also dished out 3 assists while collecting 1 steal and 2 blocks and drawing 7 fouls. Also noteworthy was playing 37:37 minutes and not committing a single turnover. All that gave him a performance index rating of 21.
Hornsby with monster first half
Keith Hornsby was unstoppable in the first half as he drained 3 three-pointers and scored on layups - just punishing Partizan in a variety of ways. All told, he scored 20 of his 22 points in the first 20 minutes. Hornsby’s production slowed down in the second half as Partizan increased its defensive pressure. Still, he finished with 5 rebounds and 4 assists for a PIR of 25. He set new career-highs in points, rebounds and index rating in the game.
Partizan offensive efficiency complements defense
The biggest stat in the game was 29 - as in the number of points that Metropolitans scored in the second half after totaling 53 in the first half. The guests did a great job getting easy points with a 16-1 advantage on points off turnovers and 21-4 on fastbreak points. On top of that, Partizan shot 61.8% on two-pointers as compared to 51.1% for Metropolitans. Partizan also committed only 3 turnovers in the whole game. The team’s combined PIR of 117 ranked third all-time for the club in EuroCup history.
Wednesday, December 8, 2021