After three previous tries this season and almost a year since its last Euroleague home win, Partian VIP finally treated its fans in Belgrade to a triumph at Pionir Arena on Wednesday with a fine 79-71 decision over visiting Adecco Asvel. The win couldn't have been more timely as it lifted Partizan to 2-4 and within sight of the crucial top five spots in Group C before the break for national team play. Big man Djuro Ostojic was the match-winner for Partian, playing great at both sides of the court to finish with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Milos Vujanic was Partizan best scorer with 28 points, while Frederic House and Dusan Kecman added 12 each. Asvel's top scorer was Yann Bonato with 12, Sacha Giffa scored 11 (including 3 of 4 triples) and Vassil Eftimov had 11 rebounds and 9 points.
Partizan opened the game with 10-0 run and Asvel didn't score its first points until 3 minutes after the starting bell. Partizan led 14-2 in the middle of the first period. Then Bonato woke up and dragged the French champions back into the game with 6 consecutive points. Asvel answered again at the begining of the second quarter with 0-9 run, with which it booked its first lead at 21-22. Partizan's bench players were on the court but when Vujanic was back in the game, the team from Belgrade played its transition game on ofense and retook a 38-30 advantage. Asvel to cut that to 38-32 before the half finished. The French visitors were not holding up their season-long averages from downtown, having hit only 3 of 14 threes in the first 20 minutes. Partizan, meanwhile, had made 13 of 15 free throws.
Asvel started the third period with vigor and a 0-7 run to a 38-39 lead, but Kecman stopped French team with his first three-pointer. It was the beggining of an 11-0 run by Partizan that gave the hosts their biggest lead of the game, 49-39, in the middle of the third period. Andre Owens and Eftimov kept Asvel alive, however, and the score was 55-51 before the start of the final quarter. House announced the victory dunking for 63-56 midway through the fourth. The Partizan guard played excellent defense, too, in his best game since he joined the Belgrade team two weeks ago. Giffa put down two triples in a row for Asvel, but Vujanic answered from downtown and Partizan still led by 68-59. Hope was renewed for Asvel 3 minutes before the end when Harold Mrazek hit two free throws for 70-68. But that was as far as Asvel got. Ostojic reigned in the paint on both sides and Vujanic made all the free throws he shot in the last 2 minutes. Asvel lost on shooting accuracy, really, as it ended up missing 18 three-pointers (6-for-24) and 9 free throws (23 for 32). It was not enaught for the win in Belgrade.
Wednesday, November 13, 2002