Skipper Bologna has won its third straight game in Group C with a 95-85 decision against visiting Zadar of Croatia behind another incredible performance by the master, Gregor Fucka. The veteran forward of Skipper outdid himself with 38 points against Zadar while playing like Superman on the inside, the outside, offense and defense. Another reason Skipper could prevail despite having no healthy centers was the board work of forward Vasco Evtimov, who pulled 17 rebounds in an overall 51-40 rebounding advantage for the winners. Skipper's record is now 3-1, putting it solidly among the contenders in Group C, while Zadar has lost three in a row after an opening-game victory. Rumeal Robinson led the visitors with 28 points.
Zadar led 19-21 after the first quarter, after Skipper had started with a 9-0 run after tipoff, courtesy of Fucka. Robinson woke up his team with 5 consecutive points. Even though it took 4 minutes for the first Zadar basket, the visitors were reviving just when Skipper decided to take a rest. Zadar proceeded to outscores Bologna 9-0 and tie the game 11-11. Within a minute, a triple by Marcelic gave the Croats their first lead. Meneghin added some fine plays to keep the home team close, but Ivan Grgat was controlling the paint for Zadar, which was able to hold on by a basket after 10 minutes.
Skipper outscored Zadar at the beginning of the second quarter 9-0 and took a 28-21 lead thanks to Meneghin's triples. Fucka was marvellous while Zadar depedend on Robinson. But Skipper relaxed at the end of the quarter, especially because Meneghin and Fucka were benched, and Zadar came back. Robinson kept driving into a middle that is lacking two injured centers. Zadar almost caught Skipper, coming within 47-45 at the halftime Robinson was up to 16 points by then and Fucka 22. Again, Skipper's shortage of big men was apparent as Fucka had 9 boards in 20 minutes, but Zadar was leading as a team 23-20. Ime Oduok had 9 boards for the visitors.
Grgat tied the game from the foulline shortly after the half, but Skipper found its own points thanks to Fucka and Evtimov, and reestablished a lead at 53-47. Zadar wnet to Marcelic to get back down by just two, 59-57. Fucka then nailed a triple, but Zadar hung on with Robinson and Marcelic, working great without the ball, at 65-64. Two free throws by Fucka and four by Basile saw the lead reach 71-64 but then Tomislav Ruzic answered with his own pair, followed by a steal. Robinson scored the layup and Zadar was one shot far from Skipper. That shot came off the hands of young Marko Popovich, a triple almost at the buzzer. The scoreboard read 71-71 after 30 minutes.
Skipper tried to escape thanks to Evtimov and Milic and with 5 minutes left by eight, 81-73, following a 10-2 run. Marcelic tried to hang on with the triple, but then Milic was unstoppable one-on-one and Meneghin drew Robinson's fifth foul. It was 87-78 with 3:00 to go, and the young Popovich tried to give Zadar hope with a three-point play and an important steal, but Fucka blocked his three-point attempt and scored at the other end. The old master had decided it once and for all.
Wednesday, October 31, 2001