Pau-Orthez broke its six-game losing streak in Group C in front of its home fans by beating visiting Partizan 77-69 on Thursday. Pau improved to 2-6 in Group C and registered its second win against Partizan in this regular season. Meanwhile, Partizan dropped to 1-7 and making it to the Top 16 seems to be a distant option. Artur Drozdov led the winners with 13 points, while Lonnie Cooper had a double-double of 12 points and as many as 12 assists. Thierry Gadou also had 12 points while C.C. Harrison scored 11 for Pau. Kosta Perovic had 14 points for Partizan, Nikola Loncar 13 on 5-for-6 shooting, Nikola Pekovic 12 also on 5-for-6 shooting while Uros Tripkovic added 11 points for the guests. Partizan led 22-24 midway through the second quarter, but Pau used a 19-2 run to get a 41-26 at halftime and kept a safe margin throughout the second half.
Kosta Perovic scored the first basket of the game on a put-back layup, but Artur Drozdov followed a big basket with a dunk to give Pau a 4-2 lead. Thierry Rupert stepped up with back-to-back jumpers, while C.C. Harrison added an easy layup which gave the hosts a 10-6 edge. Without Milojevic on court, Uros Tripkovic became the floor general for Partizan. He followed Perovic's free throws with a driving layup and added a six-meter jumper for a 12-12 tie. Partizan tried a zone defense which Brooks Sales beat with a layup and free throws for make Pau regain the lead at 16-14. The guests struggled to score, but Partizan dominated the boards to stay into the game. Nikola Pekovic stepped up with a layup to tie the game again, 16-16, at the end of the first quarter.
Thierry Gadou shined early in the second quarter with consecutive baskets in the paint, good for a 20-16 Pau lead. Predrag Suput tried to change things with free throws for Partizan, but T.J. Lux fired in a baseline jumper to keep Pau ahead. Nikola Loncar matched with a long jumper, igniting a 0-6 Partizan run which Perovic capped with a jump hook, forcing a Pau timeout at 22-24. Fred Fauthoux came to the rescue with a three and Gadou copied him with a triple from the left corner, enough to make it a four-point game, 28-24. Cooper joined the three-point festival and an outstanding Gadou dunked for a 33-24 Pau lead. Suput and Harrison exchanged free throws, but Fauthoux nailed another three and Lux dunked it to boost the hosts' margin to 41-26 at halftime, after a game-breaking 19-2 run.
Partizan looked for its big men early in the third quarter to balance its offense. Perovic stayed effective near the basket while Tripkovic buried a three to bring Partizan within 45-32. Pau now powered the offensive board and got many second-chance opportunities. Free throws by Cooper and Lux, as well as a big three by Harrison allowed the hosts to stay out of trouble at 52-36 midway through this period. Pekovic stepped up with a put-back layup, but Drozdov copied that in the other end and added a high-flying fast break dunk to force a Partizan timeout, 56-38. Pekovic and Rupert exchanged baskets, but another fast break dunk by Harrison made it a 20-point game, 58-48, after 28 minutes. Loncar stepped up with a basket-plus-foul, but Fauthoux pleased the crowd with his third triple, good for a 63-43 Pau lead at the end of the third quarter.
Perovic tried to wake Partizan up with a three-point play which Novica Velickovic followed with a bomb from downtown. Pau went scoreless for 4 minutes, while Loncar blasted another three to bring Partizan within 63-52. Pau called timeout, but a red hot Loncar had time for another three which capped a 0-12 Partizan run and made it an eight-point game, 63-55. Drozdov stepped up with a shot from the arc while Cooper followed a jumper with a fast break dunk to give Pau a safe cushion, 70-57, with 5 minutes to go. Luka Bogdanovic joined the three-point show and Pekovic scored to bring Partizan within 72-62. A big triple by Suput brought Partizan even closer, 76-67, but the guests ran out of time and Pau cruised to a well-deserved win.
Thursday, December 22, 2005