Partizan sneaks past Slask with late Dangubic heroics
Partizan NIS Belgrade improved to 6-1 with a battling 75-73 home victory over Slask Wroclaw, which drops to 1-6 at the bottom of Group A. Slask set the early pace before Partizan used an 18-0 run to move into a double-digit lead, but the visitors kept fighting and pulled it back to 37-35 at the break. It remained close during the third quarter, and a late 0-10 run inspired by Kerem Kanter gave Slask a late lead. But Nemanja Dangubic scored 4 points in the final 20 seconds, including a go-ahead to keep the win in Belgrade. Gregor Glas led the way with 18 points, while Uros Trifunovic scored 12. Zach LeDay and Aleksa Avramovic both netted 10 points in victory. Slask’s Kanter led all scorers with 21 points, while Ivan Ramljak and Aleksander Dziewa had 12.
Ramljak’s transition basket gave Slask an early lead, and Kodi Justice kept the visitors moving with a triple in a low-scoring start. Kanter scored inside to make it 5-9 before a layup-and-one by Aleksa Avramovic sparked Partizan. Kanter netted inside again and Dziewa dunked for an 8-15 lead. Glas and Yam Madar scored inside to bring Partizan closer, and triples from Trifonovic and Glas sent the hosts ahead, 22-15, at the end of the first. Balsa Koprivica struck first in the second quarter and Glas netted again to complete an 18-0 run, sending Partizan ahead by double digits. Cyril Langevine finally ended Slask’s barren run, but Koprivica responded with a huge slam before Trifunovic made it 30-17. Lukasz Kolenda scored 4 points to bring Slask closer, but LeDay hit a triple and Koprivica again scored inside for another double-digit lead, 35-25. Ramljak scored 4 points and Justice made a three to narrow the gap to 37-35 at half-time.
Trifunovic opened the second half scoring with a triple, but Ramljak answered with two scores inside. Glas hit a three-pointer and Trifunovic scored inside to give Partizan a bigger margin, 47-40, midway through the third. Glas scored 4 more points and LeDay splashed a three, but Kanter netted a three-point play and Kolenda struck from deep to make it 54-52 for Partizan after three quarters. LeDay and Dziewa both scored 4 points early in the fourth quarter, before a fastbreak slam from Trifunovic gave the hosts a 61-56 edge. Kanter responded with another layup before Dallas Moore and Jakub Karolak traded three-pointers, making it 66-63 with five minutes left. Kanter’s three-point play tied it up as Slask kept on fighting, and Kanter then hit a triple for a 68-71 lead inside the last 3 minutes. Kanter scored again for a 0-8 personal run, before Avramovic sparked Partizan with a fastbreak dunk to make it 70-73. Dangubic hit free throws with 20 seconds left and then, after a Slask turnover, converted an offensive rebound for a 74-73 lead. Slask had 5 seconds left but LeDay drew an offensive foul from Kolenda to secure the win.
Without Punter, Partizan leaned on defense
With leading scorer Kevin Punter missing, this was a victory built on Partizan’s defense. The home side was trailing 8-15 midway through the first quarter but bounced back with a 14-0 run to take the lead with a passage of play marked by outstanding defense. Slask did not score for the last 4:45 of the first quarter or the opening 2:10 of the second, a run totalling nearly seven minutes which saw Partizan race into a lead which it held through much of the game. And even when Slask fought back to take a late lead, Partizan’s defense came up strong in crunch time by not allowing any points in the last 2 minutes to steal the win.
Koprivica’s blocks equal season high
A prominent performer throughout the game was Partizan big man Balsa Koprivica, who looked every centimetre of his 2.15m as he blocked 4 shots – the competition’s joint highest so far this season – and constantly provided a menacing presence in front of the home team’s basket. Koprivica also scored 8 points as well as missing a couple of big attempted dunks, grabbed 6 rebounds and made 3 steals. The 21 year-old is playing his first season in the competition, and showed that he can become a dominant inside presence with a little more maturity.
Kanter strong in defeat for Slask
One player who definitely did not deserve to finish on the losing side was Kerem Kanter, who topped all scorers and set a new career-high with 21 points including a stunning passage of play that seemed set to give his team victory. The Turkish forward scored 10 points in less than five minutes, including a personal 0-8 run that turned a 68-65 deficit into a 68-73 lead, but it was not enough in the end as Partizan scored the final 7 points of the game. He also grabbed 8 rebounds and spent nearly 36 minutes on the floor in a valiant effort.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021