| Crvena Zvezda took a major step towards reaching the Eurocup Quarterfinals series by edging CEZ Nymburk 60-65 on the road in Pardubice, the Czech Republic in Last 16 Group L on Tuesday night. Zvezda recorded an important road win and hosts Gran Canaria 2014 next week with the ambition to stay unbeaten. Meanwhile, Nymburk went down to 0-1 in Group L and needs to bounce back right away in next week's road game against Turk Telekom. Mike Taylor led the winners with 19 points on 3-of-4 three-pointers. Marko Keselj added 11 while Vladimir Stimac had 10 for Zvezda. Petr Benda led Nymburk with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Ron Lewis added 11 points and 10 boards for the hosts, that got their only double-digit lead, 40-30, near halftime. Oliver Stevic, Taylor and Vuk Radivojevic fueled a 1-13 run that put Zvezda back ahead, 41-43, right after the break. The game was very balanced from then on, as a jumper by Benda gave Nymburk a 58-57 edge. Taylor sank the go-ahead triple and soon added free throws to seal the outcome, 60-64, as Nymburk did not recover in the final seconds.
Keselj got Zvezda going with a layup that Benda quickly matched with a jumper, as Zvezda tried to slow down the game tempo. Taylor hit free throws but a put-back basket by Benda and a layup by Radek Necas soon gave Nymburk its first lead at 6-4. Benda scored again but Zvezda had improved its defense. A jumper by Stevic and a triple by Keselj put the guests back ahead, 8-10. Ladislav Sokolovsky and Stevic traded baskets but free throws by Arthur Lee tied it at 12-12. Lewis struck from downtown but free throws by Stimac and Sokolovsky added free throws for a 17-15 score. Benda kept pacing Nymburk with a jumper but back-to-back baskets by Stimac tied the game, 19-19, after 10 minutes. Mike Lenzly sank a jumper early in the second quarter and Lewis added foul shots for a 23-19 Nymburk lead. Nemanja Bjelica sank a jumper off a Zvezda timeout but Lewis answered with consecutive jumpers to make it a six-point game, 27-21. Taylor downed a three-pointer that Lenzly erased with a layup-plus-foul. Stimac scored again and Taylor added free throws but Lewis kept Nymburk ahead at 32-28. Slezak sank a jumper that Taylor matched with a layup. Pavel Slezak and Necas fueled a 6-0 run that bosted the hosts' lead to double digits, 40-30. A jumper by Stevic and a three-pointer by Radivojevic got Zvezda within 41-36 at halftime.
Keselj struck from downtown immediately after the break and a jumper by Taylor tied it at 41-41. Nymburk kept struggling to score while Stevic capped a 1-13 Zvezda run with a jumper. Sokolovsky stepped up for Nymburk with a put-back layup but the guests kept their momentum going with strong defense. Ellmedin Kikanovic shined with a dunk-and-foul off a steal and Keselj scored again for a 45-48 Zvezda lead. Benda scored around the basket and Lewis added a driving layup but Filip Videnov singlehandedly kept Zvezda ahead, 49-52, after 30 minutes. Phil Ricci found his first points early in the fourth quarter but Taylor answered from downtown for a 51-55 score. Michal Kremen joined the three-point shootout, as the game turned into a physical battle. Both teams went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Bjelica shined with a layup. Benda downed a jumper and soon scored again to put Nymburk back ahead, 58-57, with over 4 minutes left. Taylor buried another three-pointer to make Nymburk call timeout at 58-60. Stimac took over with a put-back layup that Lee matched with a jumper for a 60-62 Nymburk deficit with less than 2 minutes to go. Lee and Benda missed critical shots for Nymburk, that fouled on Taylor already in the final minute. Taylor and Keselj sank free throws to seal the outcome, allowing Zvezda to seal a good-as-gold road win.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010