By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Baskonia traveled to Belgrade to face Crvena Zvezda priding itself on having the highest-scoring team in EuroLeague with 86.3 points. With one of their usual displays, they could leave Serbia victorious and get closer to securing a playoff spot.
Zvezda was fighting for their lives in the competition though and showed that on the court.
Thanks to a superb defensive effort and behind 20 points by Nemanja Nedovic, the hosts beat Baskonia 74 – 63 to retain their slim mathematical chances of making the playoffs. Red Star is now 13-17 while the Basque team dropped to 15-15 and below the playoff zone.
Despite losing guard Luca Vildoza to injury at halftime, Zvezda outplayed Baskonia 18 – 11 in the third period to establish a lead beyond shooting distance after a close first half (39-38).
Baskonia was struggling to make shots (6-25 triples, 1-10 by Markus Howard) and was heavy on turnovers with 19. Darius Thompson pushed the visiting side with six unanswered points after Red Star went up 62 – 51 but Facu Campazzo halted the comeback attempt with a triple. Nedovic hit one of his own and Mitrovic made it 71 – 61 for the hosts with 1:31 remaining.
“The first win out of five”
As Nedovic said: “Our defense was on a high-level tonight. We managed to stop a very high-scoring team like Baskonia. I think they scored just 63 points. That’s a great achievement and I’m very happy about this win. We have four more games left, with this one five. I’d like to think this was the first win out of five, so let’s see.”
Thompson stood out from Baskonia with 15 points, six assists, and five rebounds while Rokas Giedraitis scored 10.
Ben Bentil contributed 12 points plus five rebounds to Zvezda’s win. Ognjen Dobric dropped 11 points and Hassan Martin had 10 points plus eight boards.
“Our worst game on offense”
Baskonia’s struggles were the story of the game and as coach Joan Penarroya said: “It’s possible we played our worst game on offense in this EuroLeague season. Congratulations to Zvezda, they played good defense. But I think when we have 20 turnovers and bad percentages, it’s very difficult for us to win.”
Of course, there’s a flipside as Zvezda coach Dusko Ivanovic stated: “I think seven minutes at the end of the second quarter defined the way of how we had to play against Baskonia, who is a team with so many talents and excellent shooters. But I think we played excellent defense.”