Partizan registered its first Euroleague win of the season by downing visiting Ulker 85-69 in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro on Wednesday night in Group C. Partizan broke a four-game losing streak and both teams share now the sixth spot in the standings in a three-way tie with Pau-Orthez. Nikola Loncar led the winners with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Dejan Milojevic posted a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds, Kosta Perovic had 12 points and Nikola Pekovic 11 for Partizan. Ibrahim Kutluay led Ulker with 19 points while Vrbica Stefanov and Omer Onan each added 14 for the guests. Partizan outrebounded its opponents by 38-25 despite 9 boards grabbed by the Euroleague all-time leading rebounder Mirsad Turkcan. Ulker led 44-52 midway through the third quarter, but Partizan used a mamooth 27-3 run in which Milojevic, Pekovic and Loncar had 7 points apiece to seal the outcome long before the final buzzer.
Drago Pasalic open fire for Ulker with free throws and even when Perovic gave Partizan a 3-2 lead with a three-point play, once again Pasalic made a layup for a 3-4 Ulker edge. Partizan missed too many open shots in the early going but its many steals helped the hosts to stay in the game. Loncar made a fast break layup, but Kutluay nailed a triple to give Ulker a 5-7 edge. Both teams, due to its dramatic situation, played with heart and aggresivity in both ends. Bogdanovic nailed a big triple which Loncar followed with 5 points on a three and a fast break layup. Milojevic capped a 11-2 run with another breakaway basket for a 16-9 Partizan lead after 7 minutes. Marcus Haislip got Ulker back in track with a dunk and free throws, while Kutluay fired in consecutive threes to tie the game, 19-19, after 10 minutes.
Kutluay carried on with his three-point exhibition early in the second period, as even when Turkcan was now rebounding well in both ends, he also made some open shots. Milojevic and Pekovic stepped up with back-to-back baskets, but Stefanov followed a three-pointer with a layup to keep Ulker in charge, 26-29, after 13 minutes. Oguz Savas capped a 0-7 Ulker run with a layup, as Partizan used twin playmakers with Gerald Brown and Boris Bakic on court to speed up its offense. It worked, as Milojevic scored twice to get Partizan within 30-31. Onan stepped up with 5 quick points, but Brown answered with consecutive layups for a 35-37 Partizan deficit after 18 minutes. Loncar and Stefanov exchanged three-pointers in the last minute to fix the score at 38-42 as both teams headed to their respective locker rooms.
Kutluay kept shining after the break, while Onan took advantage of Perovic's second consecutive turnovers and scored a fast break layup to give Ulker a 38-47, forcing Partizan to call a quick timeout, after a 0-5 run. The guests carried on working hard in defense, forcing Partizan too many turnovers. The hosts had a poor shot selection, too, as Predrag Suput and Luka Bogdanovic shot respective airballs, while Turkcan kept on rebounding well in both sides of the court, helping Ulker to get a 44-52 lead after 27 minutes. It didn't last long, as Stefanov went to the bench with a small injury, while Loncar and Milojevic ignited a 7-1 run highlight by Perovic's dunkm enough to bring Partizan within 51-53 after 30 minutes.
Partizan started the final period with strong defense, while Loncar scored from downtown to tie the score at 54-54. Suput added a three-point play off a steal, while Pekovic score twice in the paint to give Partizan a 61-54 lead. Ulker could not find the way to the basket, while Milojevic took over with a basket-plus-foul to boost Partizan's margin to 64-54. With a packed Pionir Arena already on its feet, Pekovic added another playup which forced Partizna to call timeout, 66-55, midway through this period. Perovic made a free throws, Milojevic scored off an offensive rebound while Loncar capped a mamooth 21-2 opening run in this quarter with a fast break layup. Onan fired in a triple, then Perovic and Kutluay exchanged layups for a 73-60 score with 3 minutes to go. The outcome was clear, even when Haislip and Onan brought Ulker within 74-65. Suput and Milojevic combined for 4 quick points to make Partizan cruise to its first Euroleague win of the season!
Thursday, December 1, 2005
Aca Ostojic, Belgrade