Pau-Orthez threw its name into the ring of Group C contenders by thrashing Partizan 57-82 on the road in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro on Thursday night. With the second-biggest winning margin of opening week, Pau-Orthez has climbed to the top spot in the Group C standings with the road win. Defense that stifled Partizan throughout the night was the reason. C.C. Harrison led the winners with 22 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. Lonnie Cooper added 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting, Jeff Varem had 11 on 4-for-5 shooting while Brooks Sales grabbed 10 rebounds for Pau-Orthez. Dejan Milojevic was the only player in double figures for Partizan with 19 points on 13 of 16 free throws and 12 rebounds. Pau-Orthez opened the game with a 1-10 run, while Harrison and Cooper combined for 26 points in the opening half, enough for the guests to get a 22-37 lead at halftime. Partizan failed to rally, as Pau kept full control of the game until the final buzzer.
Clint Harrison of Pau scored first basket at the season opener in Belgrade. After he hit a triple, Brook Sales a layup and Lonnie Cooper another shot fromthe arc, Pau was up 1-8 and Partizan taking a timeout. At 1-10 after 4 minutes, Nikola Pekovic scored Partizan's first basket after seven misses against Pau's great defense. When Harrison scored once more from long-distance, Pau had its first double-digit gap, 3-14. The French visitors punished every mistake Partizan made on defense as the score rose to 7-18. Gerald Brown made two layups and Pekovic one for 13-18 but Harrison scored with the buzzer to set the difference at 13-20 after 10 minutes.
Partizan tried a zone to start the second quarter, but the teams traded baskets. Predrag Suput of Partizan scored twice but Cooper made it from downtown and Orthez led 19-31 in minute 17 after a 2-8 run. Partizan missed a lot of long-distance shots, but Brown scored in the paint. Harrison was hot, however, landing a triple and free throws in the final minute for a 22-37 half in which the guests dominated in all aspects.
Harrison opened the second half with 3 free throws and then added a triple that put the guests up 21 points, 22-43. Cooper continues with layup before Milojevic stopped Pau's 0-8 run by scoring from the line. Milojevic woke up now and Nikola Loncar fololowed with Partizan's first three-pointer, but the guests still led 33-51. Harrison, Frederic Fautoux and T.J. Lux all scored as the lead hit 38-60 on the way to 44-64 at the end of three quarters.
Cooper stole and scored to open the final period. Pau held Partizan scoreless for 3 minutes more of great defense. While Cooper and Harrison managed, Lux and Thierry Rupert scored and Pau had a comfortable 49-72 lead with 5 minutes to go. The almost 7,000 Partizan fans in Pionir Arena stood and sang encouragments to their team, even though the local players were far from their best on Thursday. It would end as Partizan's fourth consecutive loss against Pau, which went home to France with a valuable 57-82 victory to build on.
Thursday, November 3, 2005