A spectacular comeback punctuated by rising star Tadija Dragicevic's three-pointer on the buzzer kept Red Star sharing first place in Group F by shocking Telindus Oostende 72-73 on the road in Belgium on Tuesday. Red Star stayed even with Dynamo Moscow, both with 4-1 records at the top of the group, while Oostende, now 2-3, lost a golden opportunity to move into second place. Dragicevic's triple came on an inbounds play with two-tenths of a second left and finished a Red Star rally from 7 points behind with 70 seconds left. Steven Markovic led the winners with 20 points, including 4 of his team's 12 three-point makes. Dragicevic added 17 points and Omar Cook 10. Chuck Davis paced the Oostende scorers with 14 points, followed in order by Veselin Petrovic with 13, Greg Brunner with 12 and Titus Ivory with 11.
Red Star signalled its intentions clearly as Mladen Sljivancanin hit 2 of 3 free throws and Mirko Kovac a triple to take a quick 0-5 lead. Dragicevic soon piled on 5 points in a row as the guests soared ahead 2-11. Petrovic started Oostende's comeback with 5 points in a row, to which Ivory tacked on a triple to make it 10-11. Ivory's next shot from downtown gave Oostende its first lead, 15-13, but in a game of swings, the next was Red Star's. Cook, Dragicevic and Markovic drained triples in a 0-12 quarter-ending run that left the visitors in charge, 16-25, after 10 minutes. Brunner fired in 6 straight points early in the second quarter to get Oostende back in the game at 24-27. Markovic resurfaced to take control, however, with 7 points in 2 minutes that marked the first double-digit lead yet, 26-36. Oostende answered with a 7-0 run by Davis and Chris McCray, but Markovic's third triple without a miss lifted Red Star to a 38-41 halftime advantage. After the break, Red Star went for the kill with another triple and two-pointer combo by Markovic that meant a 40-48 advantage. But Oostende soon turned up its defensive intensity for the home fans. While Jerry Green, Ivotry, Sebastien Bellin and Petrovic combined on an 11-0 run to a new 51-48 lead for Oostende, Red Star went through 4 scoreless minutes. Miroslav Raicevic took the visitors in front again with a late triple, but Sam Van Rossom finished the third quarter by putting Oostende ahead 53-52. Oostende's defense continued to rule with 5 more scoreless minutes for Red Star to start the final quarter. That meant just 5 points total for the guests in the previous 12, while Oostende extended its advantage to 61-52 on a drive by Van Rossom. But Cook ended Red Star's misery with a triple and 2 free throws, and when Nenad Misanovic added a basket, the score was suddenly 61-59 with 3 minutes left. Davis stepped in then and saved the hosts with free throws and jumper to make it 65-60. Bellin added free throws before Davis hit another jumper to make it 69-62. That and single free throws by Ivory and Van Rossom seemed just enough to hold off Red Star's last rally, but a new triple by Kovac gave Red Star one last opportunity, with the ball and two-tenths of a second left. Dragicevic received and let go, hitting the bottom of the net and stealing victory from the jaws of defeat for Red Star.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007