Krka Novo Mesto counts itself among the second-round qualifiers after it turned back visiting Generali Group Trieste by a decisive 101-83 in Group C on Tuesday. Krka never trailed on its home floor and as such, made good on its second try to get into the next round. The winners went to their big gun, Jaime Arnold, for 27 points and 9 rebounds to lead the way. Among 6 Krka players total who hit double figures, young guard Vladimir Anzulovic added 17 points, Slavko Duscak 12, Marton Bader 11, Marko Maravic and Milos Mirkovic 10 each. Krka's defense also did a job in holding down Nate Erdmann to 15 points for Trieste, even though Terrance Roberson led the visitors with 24 and Roberto Casoli chipped in 10. Krka raised its record to 6-2 while Trieste fell to 4-4 and must wait for another day to find out about its future in the competition.
Krka started with their trademark fast game and an 8-2 run in the first 3 minutes after Slavko Duscak scored his first three-pointer. Trieste was able to get as close as 2 points away from Krka in the fifth minute, but soon Arnold was at work scoring some of his 9 first-quarter points and securing bigger leads from the hosts. When 10 minutes were up, Krka had built a comfortable lead of 26-14. And Trieste's struggle was not going to be any easier as shooter Danielle Cavaliero injured his ankle near the end of the first quarter. Nonetheless, the Trieste squad confronted Krka and started to play more aggressively on defense. Then, a pair of three-pointers from Erdmann cut the Krka lead to 31-26 after 15 minutes. Soon, Bader was stepping out to score a three-pointer from almost the locker room and Arnold was adding to his point totals. The Krka advantage was once again in double-digits, 38-28. As Trieste tried to surround Arnold, Krka used the three-pointer as a weapon, with Vladimir Anzulovic scoring twice from downtown in a short span. Erdmann kept scoring, but the surprise was that Bader kept up with him and the result was a 53-39 Krka advantage at halftime. Arnold had 14 and Bader 11 by then, while Erdmann was up to 12 for Trieste.
Duscak started the second half as he had the first, with 5 points almost in a row as Krka's lead climbed. Sinisa Klecevic joined Roberson in lowering the deficit to 58-42 but Arnold and Duscak didn't allowed any surprises and boosted Krka ahead by 20 points again soon. The difference remained that way, 70-50, in the 27th minute when result was 70-50, but Roberson now got hot and helped Bonn finish quarter with a 6-11 run to close within 76-61 after 30 minutes. Arnold's finger prints were all over the higher lead as he had 10 points in the third quarter. Now, to open the fourth quarter, he made his first three-pointer, which would be his last points of the night. His job was done anyway. The lead was at 20 points still, and even though Roberson stayed hot for Trieste, Erdman and Klecevic fouled out. Anzulovic kept showing his best performance of the season and Krka coach Neven Spahija gave the floor to younger players like Jure Balayic and Igor Ivaskovic. The night was complete when Boris Gnjidic pushed Krka's score over the century mark on the same night the Slovenians advanced in the tournament before its home fans.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002