Zvezda blasts Galatasaray, improves to 4-1
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade routed visiting Galatasaray Istanbul 87-57 on Tuesday night in the Serbian capital. Zvezda reached the midway point of the regular season atop Group A with a 4-1 record, while Galatasaray dropped to 2-3. Joe Ragland paced the winners with 21 points, and Billy Baron added 16 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Tai Webster scored 16, and Zach Auguste had 14 points plus 9 rebounds in the losing effort.
The visitors had Webster and Auguste open the game strong and scored 9 of Galatasaray's first 11 points. However, Zvezda was the one that took control with Baron hitting a pair of triples early before the hosts scored the last 9 points of the quarter, including a third triple from Baron to make it 26-13 after 10 minutes. Stratos Perperoglou hit a three-pointer to extend the margin to 31-15 in the second, and even though Nigel Hayes hit from downtown for the visitors midway through the quarter, Zvezda was the one with a stronger finish to the quarter. Baron his fourth triple in as many attempts, and Maik Zirbes added a three-point play, helping the hosts to a 44-26 halftime lead. The opening of the second half looked promising for the visitors, who scored on their first two possessions, but Mouhammad Faye hit from inside and outside and a fellow big man Michael Ojo also scored twice inside to open a 58-36 lead. A transition three-pointer by Filip Covic helped build a 25-point margin. The hosts entered the final quarter up 69-47 and never allowed Galatasaray to inch much closer, cruising to a big 30-point victory.
Billy Baron set the tone for Zvezda in the first quarter, hitting all of his 3 three-point attempts. He added his fourth, without a miss, in the second quarter, helping Zvezda to an 18-point lead it never came to question the rest of the way. Baron's scoring quieted down in the second half, but he finished the game with 7 rebounds and 5 assists, for a fine all-around performance.
Joe Ragland was Zvezda's top scorer with 21 points despite sitting out the last seven and a half minutes of the third quarter and the start of the fourth in foul trouble. Ragland still ended up playing 24 minutes and was the game's leading scorer, but Zvezda kept control even without its starting point guard.
Big men shaking it up
Zvezda's three big men had their way in the paint against Galatasaray. Maik Zirbes scored 15 points, Mouhammad Faye had 12 plus 6 rebounds, and Michael Ojo finished with 9 points. The trio shot 14 of 22 from close range.
Both teams hit the road in Round 6. Crvena Zvezda travels to ratiopharm Ulm, while Galatasaray pays a visit to MoraBanc Andorra.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018